What Can Romania Accomplish at Worlds?
The Romanian worlds team was confirmed today:
- Diana Builmar
- Ana Porgras
- Diana Chelaru
- Amelia Racea
- Sandra Izbasa
- Raluca Haidu
- Daniela Andrei (Alternate)
Catalina Ponor, however, will be on this team. Due to drug testing rules, she cannot officially be named to the team until six months after her official comeback announcement, which took place April 1st, 2011. Therefore, it is expected that she will be competing in Tokyo, even though she must wait until October 1st to be an official team member.
This means, obviously, that somebody will be dropped from the team. The coaches clearly seem to be planning on dropping Andrei as the alternate; they are not taking her to the pre-worlds competition the weekend. Then, somebody has to be moved from the main team to the alternate position. This could potentially happen to Diana Chelaru, who has been injured, but I am assuming that she is close to fully recovered because she will be competing this weekend. The two obvious girls who could be dropped are therefore Diana Bulimar and Raluca Haidu. Personally, I expect it to be Bulimar. She probably has the third best floor routine in Romania at the moment, but not by a significant margin. She surprised me by breaking 15 on beam this weekend, but this is not a common occurrence for her. I expect a beam lineup in finals of Racea, Ponor and Porgras. Haidu is not useful on beam or floor, but can contribute in the top three on vault and bars. She is not necessary for the vault lineup, but she has consistently been in the top three on bars, and that is very important for a team like Romania.
Here’s a little breakdown by event of what I would expect to see from this team, with Haidu as a member.
Prelims: I would probably leave either Haidu or Ponor off of vault in prelims. Porgras has the weakest vault, but she is their top all arounder and will not be left out of the lineup. Izbasa is a medal favorite on vault, and along with having two vaults and therefore the potential to make finals, Racea and Chelaru are probably number 2 and 3 in the all around. Unfortunately, using this lineup does not help in the decision on who to use in finals, as either Haidu or Ponor may be used.
Finals: Izbasa will definitely vault, if she has recovered from her injury. After that, Romania has three DTYs and one 1 1/2 that usually scores higher than the DTYs. If Ponor has a DTY, she is in the lineup. The same goes from Chelaru with the Amanar. Racea and Haidu both have doubles that could be cleaner, but the same goes for Chelaru. Whoever they go with, Romania can get a few mid-high 14s on vault.
Prelims: This one’s obvious: Izbasa, Racea, Haidu, Chelaru and Porgras will compete bars in prelims (not in that order).
Finals: We can see Romania’s lack of depth on bars here, because the lineup is still pretty obvious: Haidu, Racea and Porgras. Haidu is the Douglas of Romania; she can hit bars and maybe vault but nothing else. Racea probably has the best routine of the Romanians if she hits it. That title belonged to Porgras for a long time. She is, after all, a world bronze medalist. She has some big issues now, though. She (and really all of the Romanians) can’t hit that pesky 1 1/2 pirouette, but the larger concern is her dismount. Her legs are at least a foot apart and she usually lands it short. Hopefully she will find a dismount that works better for her before London. I am expecting low-mid 14s at best. In a perfect world, maybe somewhere near 14.7, but I’m not holding my breath. It could also be a whole lot worse.
Prelims: Izbasa, Chelaru, Racea, Ponor and Porgras. Haidu can theoretically score higher than Izbasa and Chelaru, but she rarely hits and I don’t think the coaches would want to risk it. The other girls also have chances at making finals (either all around or beam). Looking at this team, there is no reason to compete her on floor, so she wouldn’t be in the mix for an all around spot.
Finals: Racea, Ponor and Porgras. This could be the best beam team in the world. Ponor and Porgras can finish 1st and 2nd on beam. What they have going for them is that they compete difficult routines and they don’t usually have all of those little balance checks. Racea is not quite in the same league, but she can score well and is much nicer to watch on beam than Izbasa or Chelaru. Romania’s beam scores can be in the high 14s to mid 15s.
Prelims: Racea, Porgras, Ponor, Chelaru and Izbasa. Chelaru and Izbasa because they are two of the best in the world, Racea because she is probably their second best all arounder and Porgras and Ponor because they are in contention for the third spot in team finals.
Finals: Porgras or Ponor, Chelaru and Izbasa, for the reasons stated above. Chelaru and Izbasa are both capable of high 14s, and the third gymnast will probably be in the low 14s.
I think that this team can and will (they know how to hit) do well in Tokyo. I would not put them on the team podium in a perfect world where everybody hit because of their bars, but they are not as far behind as they were last year. They have one potential all around medalist, Porgras. Izbasa can medal on vault, and Chelaru and Racea have an outside chance at making finals. I don’t expect a bars finalist this year, but anything is possible. As I’ve said before, If any country can finish 1-2 in an event final, it’s Romania with Ponor and Porgras. They also have two gymnasts who can medal on floor, Chelaru and Izbasa, and Izbasa is probably the favorite to win the gold medal, although we haven’t seen her compete floor since April. This team should have no problem whatsoever accomplishing their goal, “to get one or two medals, plus some top-six placings.”