Belarus and Russia earned the respective men's and women's junior trampoline titles on the opening day of the 26th European Championships in Trampoline, Double Mini-Trampoline and Tumbling in Baku’s National Gymnastics Arena tonight.
At the end of a programme that had featured qualifying for seniors in the double mini-trampoline and tumbling, and individual qualifying for junior trampoline, it was the junior men and women who had the first go at the podium as the team finals in trampoline took place.
These Championship, due conclude on Sunday (April 15), will be particularly important for the trampolinists as they are the qualifying event for both the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and the 2019 European Games in Minsk.
In the men’s final, Belarus were counting on 2016 junior synchro champion Mikita Fomchanka, Sebastsyan Stankevich, Daniil Valyntsau and newcomer Ivan Litvinovich.
With each gymnast completing two routines, and with the option of dropping the results of the least successful, it was Litvinovich, top qualifier in the earlier individual event, who rose to the occasion with the the best single routine score of the night, 57.900 points, which contributed to a winning total score of 309.195.
Britain’s team of Peter Buravitiskiy, Zak Perzamanos, Andrew Stamp and Corey Walkes took the silver medal with 302.515 points, and the bronze went to the Russian quartet of Igor Baykov, Dmitrii Login, Roman Neudachin and Denis Smirnov, who totalled 295.920.
Russia took the women’s junior team gold medal ahead of Belarus, for whom Katsiaryna Yarshova, highest individual qualifier earlier in the day, top-scored with a best of 55.080 points
Greece finished third, narrowly ahead of Britain.
Russia’s Mikhail Zalomin is the dominant performer in the double mini-trampoline, and the multiple European and world champion, winner of the World Games last year, is looking to defend his title.
Team-mate Aleksander Odintsov could prove his closest rival, and Spain’s Daniel Perez is also expected to challenge.
Russia’s European, world and World Games double mini-trampoline champion Mikhail Zalomin earned the top score in qualifying, 75.900 poits.
He held off Spain’s Daniel Perez, while Russia’s Vasiliy Makarskiy outscored his compatriot Aleksandr Odintsov for a place in the individual final which will be held on Sunday.
In the women’s double mini-trampoline competition Britain’s Kirsty Way qualified in first place with 67.700, six-tenths of point ahead of her team-mate Ruth Shevelan.
Russians Dana Sadkova and Polina Troianova both scored 66.700 points in third and fourth place, but fifth-placed Caitlin O’Brien of Britain, who matched the Russians’ score, was frustratingly unable to progress to the final because only two per nation are allowed.
Defending champion Lina Sjoeberg of Sweden finished sixth and will be looking to increase her score in the final on Sunday (April 15).
In tumbling, Russia lead the way through defending champion Anna Korobeynikova in the women’s qualifying and European junior champion Vadim Afanasyev in the men’s.
Korobeynikova scored 69.000 points, six tenths more than Britain’s Megan Kealy and teammate Viktoria Danilenko.
Afanasyev dominated the men’s competition, taking a huge two-point lead over his nearest rival Maksim Shlyakin.
The 2016 European junior champion Rasmus Steffensen qualified in third place just ahead of crowd favourite and Baku boy Mikhail Malkin.