Why I'm Excited for Universiade

9:37 AM Arabian Punch Front 3 Comments

Alexa Moreno (MEX) via El Economista

The XXVII Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia are to be held this weekend - a combination of the words Olympiad and University as all athletes are currently registered in university. Gymnastics starts on Sunday, Jun 7 with the women's team competition which also serves as qualification to event finals.

Questions have been raised as to whether or not Aliya Mustafina will compete due to an illness that kept her out of training for the past week but knowing her, she will. I'm most excited to see what Tatiana Nabieva and Anna Dementyeva have to offer. Nabieva has been out for quite some time seeming to deal with ill-timed injuries and the body changes that tend to come with time off from the sport. Anna Dementyeva seems to be on the better side of the Rodionenkos after they removed her from the final group of gymnasts eligible for the Olympics. Later in 2012, she regained their trust by competing at a few international meets and doing fairly well. She'll be doing the all-around and just imagine what would happen if she comes out on top! Ksenia Afansyeva will be doing the all around but the more interesting facts are that she is listed as doing 2 vaults and will be debuting her new floor routine.

Elsa Garcia and Alexa Moreno should make their respective all-around and vault finals easily. I'm curious to see where the Mexican team places in comparison to some of these other teams. It will give us an idea of how they might do at the next team World Championships in 2014 even though lots will change between then and now. I'm particularly curious to see where Moreno lands in the vault final because vault at this years world championships may prove to be one of the most exciting and hardest to qualify!

South Korea
The other team I'm excited to see is Korea. During Worlds 2011, many were raving about the Korean team during training before the meet. Unfortunately, they seemed to implode during the actual meet and hardly made an impression. I'm hoping we get to see video of the excellent bar work, clean beam, and well choreographed floor routines that were once raved about.

North Korea
Chim Gym has PRK listed but without any names. If we see anyone, we might get an idea of who may get the spot to Worlds (North Korea has only reserved a place for one gymnast). I'm hoping we see one of their vaulters since rumors of triple twisting Yurchenkos have been around for year. This will be good international experience and exposure since PRK was only recently allowed to compete internationally again after an FIG suspension.

Overall, I'm excited to see the final placements. For example, where does a healthy Ellie Black fall compared to Russia's two all-arounders? How about Elsa Garcia, Yu Minobe of Japan or Great Britain's Hannah Whelan? Where will vaulters like Alexa Moreno place compared to Olympic finalist Ellie Black and Olympic Bronze Medalist Maria Paseka? German Lisa Katherina Hill has been making quite a name for herself on bars so where will she fall in a field consisting of Russian Olympians competing on home turf? Fellow German Kim Bui had great performances at the recent Anadia Cup but just missed the medals mostly due to D-score disparities. Will she medal this weekend?

List of competitors: here
Make sure to follow @ArabianPF_blog on twitter for info on live streams - ESPN3 (US only) should be showing it, as well as the FISU website. Stay tuned for updates!

Who are you most excited to see?


  1. Anna Dementyeva! So excited to see her making a comeback!

  2. Danusia Francis - Curious to see what she have planed and how it will differ from her college gymnastics.

    Ksenia Afanasyeva - Even after euros I still can't determine how big of a contender she is for worlds medals.

    Elsa Garcia - Her gymnastics is too pretty.

    Aliya Mustafina - No one ever needs a reason to get excited about seeing Mustafina.

  3. Aliya Mustafina - as always. She seems to be going strong! And ditto above comment - no one ever needs a reason to get excited about seeing her :)