Newcomers shine in first day of women's competition at Russian Gymnastics Championships

Viktoria Listunova led a talented trio to the top of the women's team standings. Mistakes on the uneven bars and balance held Angelina Melnikova to fourth.

By Scott Bregman

2019 junior world all-around champion Viktoria Listunova led a talented trio of newcomers to the top of the standings Thursday, 11 March, the first day of women's competition at the Russian Gymnastics Championships in Penza.

Her junior worlds teammate Vladislava Urazova was second in the all-around standings followed by Yana Vorona, the alternate to the 2019 junior team.

Angelina Melnikova, who won bronze in the all-around at the 2019 World Championships, finished fourth after mistakes on the uneven bars and balance beam.

Listunova scored no lower than 14.233 on any apparatus en route to a 57.566 total in the all-around. Urazova posted a 56.299, while Vorona and Melnikova were separated by just .001, 55.199 to 55.198. Listunova led 'Moscow' to the team event win with a 216.495 total.

Coming into these championships, Melnikova told Olympic Channel she was unsure of her form, after losing training time early in the year due to laser eye surgery.

“I am not that confident with regards to my form right now," Melnikova said in a filming for the original series All Around in which she stars.

The 20-year-old got off to a strong start on the floor exercise, where she tumbled a full-twisting double layout and a double layout to open. She earned a 14.266 on the event. In the second rotation, she performed an easy Yurchenko double twist to score 14.633, the top score on the event.

But doubt crept in on the uneven bars where she smacked her foot on the bar on her Jaeger release move. She came to grief once again on the balance beam, slipping off after a double wolf turn. Those routines earned scores of 13.833 and 12.466, respectively.

Listunova suffered no issues, starting strong on the uneven bars where she earned a 14.500. On the balance beam, she scored 14.233 after executing a front handspring to front tuck acro series. She wrapped her competition with scores of 14.433 on floor and 14.400 on vault.

The highest score of the competition came from Urazova on the uneven bars, the event where she is junior world champion. She scored 14.900.

Competition continues Friday with the men's and women's all-around finals. The eventual champion is determined through combining the scores from the team and all-around finals.