Four months after making her World Championships debut on bars and beam, Angelina Simakova bested a host of experienced contenders for the Russian all-around title Thursday in Penza.
Despite a fall on vault during the early rounds of the second of two days of competition, the 16-year-old from Obninsk, southwest of Moscow, persevered to take her first senior Russian title ahead of Olympic medalists Angelina Melnikova and Aliya Mustafina.
Simakova kept pace with Mustafina on uneven bars (14.1) and presented a steady beam routine that included a beautiful switch ring and an impressive new back handspring, layout, layout series. On floor, she showed precise 2.5 to front layout full, double pike and double tuck tumbling passes, all with very secure landings.
2018 champion Melnikova, second after day one, maintained her position with steady routines on vault, uneven bars and balance beam, but came apart on floor exercise, crash-landing her first two tumbling passes. The 11.633 she received for the routine ate up the lead she had gained over Simakova and dropped her back to second overall.
Fan favorite Mustafina, readying to compete at next weekend’s Stuttgart World Cup, finished third and showed her usual brilliance on uneven bars, where she has won the last two Olympic gold medals, and steadiness on balance beam, as well as a brand new floor routine choreographed by 2012 Olympic teammate Ksenia Afanasyeva.
Fifteen-year-old Daria Belousova showed very correct technique and positions in an impressive first year senior showing, finishing fourth ahead of 2006 European junior champion and 2008 Olympic team alternate Daria Elizarova, who at 28 was as nimble as ever as she tumbled a triple full to punch front and 2.5 to front layout full on floor.
2018 Youth Olympian Ksenia Klimenko showed wonderful lines and polish in all her exercises but vaulted only a Yurchenko layout to finish sixth, while three-time world team member Tatiana Nabieva, 24, was seventh.
Russian Championships - Women’s All-around final
1. Angelina Simakova, 107.897
2. Angelina Melnikova, 107.463
3. Aliya Mustafina, 107.398
4. Daria Belousova, 106.164
5. Daria Elizarova, 105.963
6. Ksenia Klimenko, 105.831