Viktoria Komova’s all-around victory at this weekend’s Dinamo International certainly isn’t a surprise, but it’s a good indication that she will likely be competing all four events at the worlds in Tokyo. Komova’s status has been somewhat questionable all year after two separate injuries to her ankle kept her out of the European Championships in April and led to arthroscopic surgery in May. The first-year senior who dominated the 2010 European Youth Olympics has been expected to challenge for this year’s world all-around title for quite some time, but failure to compete in the all-around for most of the year has left many fans wondering whether she’ll truly be ready to take on American Jordyn Wieber in the all-around finals in Tokyo. At the recent Russian Cup, Komova did compete on all four events, albeit with watered-down tumbling and vaulting that allowed teammate Anna Dementieva to overtake her for the title.
Komova posted an all-around total of 58.35 this weekend at the Dinamo meet, well ahead of teammates Ksenia Afanasyeva (56.675 with a missed beam routine), Yulia Belokobylskaya (56.55 with a relatively low bars score), and Anna Dementieva (55.675 with misses on both vault and bars). Komova’s 13.8 on floor this weekend is certainly still not up to her capabilities, but her 14.45 on vault is an improvement from the Russian Cup and suggests she likely competed a DTY (she’s capable of an Amanar). All in all, this final competition for the Russian women before the upcoming worlds has to be a huge confidence booster for Komova, who doesn’t have any other recent all-around titles to give her any momentum heading into Tokyo. Komova will certainly need a higher score on floor and possibly her Amanar back on vault to challenge Wieber for gold, but even without these improvements she’ll at least be a contender for an all-around medal. One question that will undoubtedly arise…Is she guaranteed to make the all-around final?
A look at the all-arounders on this Russian team suggests that the battle for the two available all-around spots could be extremely close. Aside from Komova, who has been scoring in the 58-59 range with watered-down floor and vault, teammates Dementieva, Afanasyeva, and Belokobylskaya have all been putting up strong all-around scores and shouldn’t be counted out as contenders for the finals. Dementieva has exploded in both confidence and difficulty this year, winning February’s Russian Championships, April’s European Championships, and August’s Russian Cup, where she nearly broke the 60-mark en route to defeating Komova. If she hits her four new brilliant routines, she’ll almost surely grab one of the Russia’s two all-around spots and could be right near the top of the world standings.
Afanasyeva, though still quite unpredictable, did lead all of her teammates on Day 1 of the Russian Cup and has posted recent scores in the 58-59 range. Uneven bars is typically her nemesis, but she does still score low-14’s when she hits and will still likely be used in prelims on bars, since teammate Paseka has typically been scoring 13’s on this event. Finally, newcomer Belokobylskaya may not be as seasoned or polished as some of her teammates, but she did post a very strong 57.85 on Day 2 of the Russian Cup and is solid across all four events. If her teammates falter in prelims, a spot in the all-around finals wouldn’t be impossible for this exciting new talent.
Maria Paseka likely solidified her world team spot by landing the Amanar on vault that many of us have been anticipating, scoring a 15.6 for first place on the event this weekend. Tatiana Nabieva performed strongly on the only two events she has been competing recently – vault and bars – scoring a solid 14.9 and 15.1, respectively. At this point we’d have to assume that Nabieva, who was considered a world all-around contender last year but has never shown consistency on beam or floor, may very well be limited to vault and bars in Tokyo.