Boglarka Devai delights hometown fans at FIG Szombathely World Cup

Devai made a sensational hometown comeback after a year away as Vincenz Hoeck and Albania seized the day in Szombathely

By Ken Browne

The Hungarian Challenge World Cup in Szombathely proved a welcome return to action for many gymnasts after lockdowns and time away from competition.

And there were some stunning performances on Day 1 with the FIG World Challenge Cup streaming live on Olympic Channel.

In the first gymnastics World Cup since March, Szombathely native Boglarka Devai was the local hero on Saturday winning the women's vault with a score of 13.95, holding off the recently crowned Ukraine champion Anastasia Motak who tallied 13.775.

A strong start with a nice block off the table set Devai on her way before landing a Lopez with just a single step back.

It was doubly sweet for 2018 European Vault champion Devai as she made a dream hometown comeback from a long injury ordeal - a foot injury which kept her sidelined practically all of last year.

Rio 2016 Olympian Angelina Radivilova finished third scoring 13.625, adding to the two bronze medals she took home from last year's competition.

Gymnastics' new normal was on view with judges all masked up at the Arena Savaria stadium, seated 1.5 meters apart as temperatures were checked and only the gymnasts performing on the apparatus could take their masks off.

Maiden title for Vincenz Hoeck

With plenty of Olympic medallists slated to take part, Szombathely was treated to some world-class gymnastics.

In the men's still rings Mr. Reliable Igor Radivilov from Ukraine wasn't quite as reliable as usual and after some good elements, he took a big step on the landing and came close to putting his hand down.

Radilov, a London 2012 vault bronze medallist, scored 13.8 which left the door open to 24-year-old Austrian Vincenz Hoeck.

A string of spectacular moves later Hoeck recorded a 14.15/6.0 giving him his first World Cup title ever.

There was no hiding his delight.

Another Ukraine gymnast Yevgen Yudenkov completed the podium in third, scoring 13.75.

First World Cup podium for Albania

It was fist bumps all around for Diana Varinska from the Ukraine after her flawless uneven bars routine gave her gold on 13.4 points.

Lara Marie Hinsberger (12.8) and Lisa Zimmerman (12.7) representing Germany shared the podium with her.

The men's pommel belonged to Kazak gymnast Nariman Kurbanov who amassed 14.6 points with a fluid and graceful showing, while Croatian Robert Seligman claimed silver with 14.35.

There was no room for Seligman's teammate Filip Ude on the podium, the 34-year-old Beijing 2008 silver medallist just missing out.

And the reason why was big news for Albania as Matvei Petrov secured a 14.05 score that gave Albania their first ever World Cup medal.

His exhausting routine had the highest D-potential in the field, and he pulled it off with a flourish nailing the final press to handstand perfectly.

Taking you back to the start, there was a tie at 14 to begin the drama in the Arena Savaria.

Slovenia's Rok Klavora and Kazkhstan's Ilyas Azizov tied on 14.0 points, but the Slovenian won the tiebreak.

The 32-year-old Klavora was pure elegance in a routine that flowed from the first whip half to the final Arabian double.

Azizov settled for silver and Ukrainian Petro Pakhnyuk bagged bronze with 13.9.

There is much more to come tomorrow on Day 2 and you can watch it live on Olympic Channel (Depending on where in the world you are of course).


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