For most gymnasts, the European Championships Basel 2021 are the first international competition since the World Championships in Stuttgart in October 2019. The European Championships 2020 were held, but many nations decided not to participate in Mersin, Turkey.
A total of 109 gymnasts from 32 countries will compete in Basel. Apart from the fight for the European Championship medals and good placings, the continental championships are also an important test of where the athletes stand in international comparison with a view to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. In addition, there are two Olympic tickets for the best all-around athletes in the qualification who has not yet qualified for the Games.
Due to varying Corona regulations between countries, the gymnasts were also allowed to return to training at different times. Also, many gymnasts born in 2004 and 2005 are celebrating their premiere at the Senior Games. So, there are many storylines to watch and many exciting questions to ask: did the gymnasts use the long training time to pack more difficulty into their routines? Which young gymnasts will manage to establish themselves directly at the senior level? But above all: who are the best gymnasts in Europe?
Answers to these questions will already be given tomorrow in the qualification, which is divided into four subdivisions. Here is an overview of the gymnasts competing in the respective rounds:
Italy’s Giorgia Villa and Alice D’Amato will start on uneven bars. Villa won gold in the all-around at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games but will only compete on uneven bars and beam in Basel. She played a big part in Italy winning bronze in the team final at her first senior women’s World Championships in Stuttgart. D’Amato was also in that team. At the 2019 European Championships she took bronze on uneven bars.
Sweden’s Jonna Adlertag is an uneven bars expert who competes in this group: she won silver on bars in 2013 and 2018. The German gymnasts Sarah Voss and Emma Malewski are also in this squad. Voss was one of two Europeans in the beam final at the 2019 World Championships. She will perform on beam and vault, while Malewski will perform on all four apparatuses at her senior women’s debut.
Romanian Maria Ceplinschi is certainly worth watching in this round. She won silver in the all-around at the European Championships 2020.
The second round will start with the Dutch gymnasts Tisha Volleman and Naomi Visser on vault.
Anina Wildi and Lilli Leanne Habisreutinger will be the first Swiss gymnasts competing at their home European Championships. Both will start on uneven bars.
A candidate for a top place in the all-around is Alice Kinsella from Great Britain. She finished 12th in the World Championships all-around final in Stuttgart and secured gold on beam at the 2019 European Championships. Together with her teammate Amelie Morgan, she will start on floor.
Anastasiia Bachynska and Anastasiia Motak from Ukraine achieved top placings at the European Championships 2020: Motak won bronze on vault and balance beam, Bachynska finished fourth on beam.
There are some interesting young gymnasts competing in this subdivision. The Belgian Noemie Louon is a good all-around gymnast, especially strong on uneven bars. Zoja Szekely from Hungary is also strong on uneven bars. Both start on the balance beam. In the same line-up is one of two reigning European Champions: the Hungarian Zsofia Kovacs. She won gold on vault and uneven bars last year. However, she will only compete on the balance beam and uneven bars.
16-year-old Jessica Gadirova from Great Britain will start her first senior competition on uneven bars, together with Vanessa Ferrari, who is 14 years older. The Italian has been competing in the international gymnastics circus for a long time: in 2006 she won the all-around gold medal. In the past years, she was injured again and again, this year she wants to qualify for her fourth Olympic Games.
The Polish gymnast Marta Pihan-Kulesza is the oldest gymnast of the European Championships at 33 years and competes in this subdivision on all four apparatus.
The fourth and last competition of the day is the one with the most top-class gymnasts.
Russia’s Angelina Melnikova is the big favourite to win the all-around title. The bronze medal winner in the all-around at the 2019 World Championships starts on the balance beam. Joining her in this line-up is her teammate Viktoriia Listunova. The 15-year-old is making her senior debut and is considered a great talent: she won the World Championships all-around title at the 2019 Junior Championships.
Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos from France won gold in the all-around and on floor at the 2019 European Championships, but will only show her routines in Basel on uneven bars and balance beam. She is one of the favourites on beam, as is the 2016 Olympic champion Sanne Wevers from the Netherlands.
Giulia Steingruber is Switzerland’s big medal hope, she won bronze on vault in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and also bronze on her showpiece apparatus at the World Championships a year later. But Steingruber is also strong in the all-around: in 2015 she won gold at the European Championships, at the World Championships in Stuttgart she finished 18th in the all-around final. Steingruber starts on the uneven bars. Her compatriot Stefanie Siegenthaler is also in this line-up, as well as Turkey’s Goksu Uctas Sanli, winner of the 2020 silver medal on floor.
Romania’s Larisa Iordache is the second reigning European champion in Basel: she won gold on balance beam and floor. In 2014 she won all-around silver at the World Championships. She is not yet qualified for the Tokyo Games. Diana Varinska from Ukraine will start the competition with Iordache on balance beam. The good all-around gymnast will only start on beam and parallel bars.
For Germany, the experienced gymnasts Elisabeth Seitz and Kim Bui will compete on floor. Seitz finished sixth in the all-around final at her home World Championships 2019. Both are particularly strong on uneven bars: Seitz won World Championships bronze in 2018 and European Championships bronze in 2017, Bui took bronze at the 2011 European Championships.
These gymnasts are in the race for the last Olympic tickets: Larisa Iordache (ROU), Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) Viktoriia Listunova, Vladislava Urazova (both RUS) and Jessica Gadirova (GBR).
Although the Italians, Russians and British are qualified as a team for the Olympic Games, the gymnasts can qualify for another ticket per nation as they were not in the team for the 2019 World Championships.
All starting times can be found here:
Although no spectators are allowed on site, you can still support your gymnastics stars: with the Virtual Live Audience Ticket you can cheer on your artistic gymnastics stars live from your sofa, alone, with family or friends. You are visibly and audibly present with your screen in the St. Jakobshalle – all in real time!
Get your ticket now for CHF 22.90 (incl. all fees and VAT) per competition!