Israel's Linoy Ashram Wins All-Around At Cluj Napoca World Challenge Cup

The weekend wrapped up after three eventful days at the 2019 Cluj Napoca World Challenge Cup. All weekend Romania bustled with beautiful routines and daring moves, and as the competition finished up, some gymnasts and teams came out on top. 

In the all-around finals, Linoy Ashram of Israel ended up in first place. Her strong scores in hoop and clubs helped propel her to the top, although all of her routines were strong. She combined a 22.250 in hoop, 22.750 in ball, 23.600 in clubs, and 19.250 in ribbon to total 88.850. This landed her 0.450 ahead of Ekaterina Selezneva of Russia, who placed second. 

Selezneva’s best performance was in clubs, where she scored a 22.950. She received a 22.750 in both hoop and ball and beat Ashram in ribbon, scoring a 19.950 to total 88.400. Nicol Zelikman of Israel took the third place podium position with an all-around score of 85.100. 

Ashram also did well in event finals, taking first in both hoop and ribbon. She took first in hoop with a 23.400, and Selezneva took second with a 23.050. Zelikman scored a 22.350 to take third. Ashram was followed on the ribbon podium by Alexandra Agiurgiuculese of Italy in second and Zelikman in third. Ashram scored a 22.250, Agiurgiuculese a 20.600, and Zelikman a 20.000.

Selezneva showed her steady skills once again to take first in ball, scoring a 22.850. Russia took the top two places in this event, putting up Daria Trubnikova in second with a 22.750. Zelikman proved she is a strong all-arounder by taking third in ball as well, scoring a 22.300. The clubs podium was where some fresh faces showed their talents, with Vlada Nikolchenko of Ukraine in first place with a 22.450. Ashram took second with a 22.050, and Denisa Mailat won third for Romania with a 21.600.

In the 5 balls team competition Ukraine took first place with a 28.400. This was a huge lead over Azerbaijan’s second-place finish with a score of 26.100. Israel continued its strong day of competition by coming in third, scoring a 25.250.

Ukraine also won the group 3 hoops, 4 clubs event, scoring 27.800, well ahead of second-place Israel’s score of 26.350. Azerbaijan took third with a 24.650, proving these three teams had a solid hold on the group competitions at the 2019 Cluj Napoca World Challenge Cup. In group Israel came out in first, followed by Azerbaijan in second and Ukraine in third. In both team competitions Hungary took fourth, Spain came in fifth, Germany placed sixth, and Poland took seventh. 

Next up in the series of five World Challenge Cups is the 2019 Kazan World Challenge Cup from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, then the 2019 Portimão World Challenge Cup, Sept. 6-8. These competitions help get gymnasts ready for the World Championships Qualifications for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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