Romanian gymnast Catalina Ponor on Sunday won the gold medal, while her fellow gymnast Larisa Iordache won the bronze medal in the women’s beam final at the 7th European Individual Gymnastics Championships in Cluj-Napoca.
Multiple-time Olympic, world and European championship Ponor, 29, was awarded 14.566 points, while Iordache, 20, got 13.966 points. The silver medal went to Dutch Eythora Thorsdottir (14.066 points).
This is Ponor’s 9th European title and fifth beam tile. Iordache’s Sunday medal was her 12th European medal.
Iordache and Ponor were the last gymnasts in Romania’s delegation to compete in the Cluj-Napoca Individual European Championships. Romania thus concluded the most important gymnastics competition hosted by it in the past 60 years with a tally of four medals: two golds, one silver and one bronze medal.
In the women’s events, Romanian Ioana Crisan and Olivia Cimpian, the first gymnasts in the host country’s delegation to perform in a final at the Cluj-Napoca European Championships, on Friday came in 18th and 23rd, respectively, in the all-around event, having scored 51.032 points and 50.106 points, respectively.
On Saturday, Dragulescu won the first medal for Romania, the gold medal in the men’s floor exercise. The jury awarded him 14.500 points.
On Sunday, Dragulescu won Romania’s second medal, the silver medal in the men’s vault event for a routine that earned him a total of 14.733 points, as he was scored 14.666 and 14.800 points, respectively for his two vaults.
The 7th European Artistic Gymnastics Championships started on April 19 and ended on Sunday at the Polyvalent Hall in the Romanian northwestern city of Cluj-Napoca, 60 years after Romania hosted the competition for the first time. Competing will be 274 gymnasts, 168 in men’s events and 106 in women’s events, hailing from 37 countries.
Representing Romania at the championships in Cluj-Napoca were 10 gymnasts: Olivia Cimpian, Ioana Crisan, Larisa Iordache and Catalina Ponor in the women’s events, as well as Marian Dragulescu, Cristian Bataga, Vlad Cotuna, Adelin Kotrong, Laurentiu Nistor and Andrei Ursache in the men’s events.
In the 2016 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Bern, Romania won two silver medals, both by Marian Dragulescu (floor and vault), and two bronzes, both by Catalina Ponor (floor and beam).
European beam champion Ponor: I worked a lot; I wanted Romania’s anthem to be played once again in Cluj-Napoca
Fresh from winning the women’s beam final at the 7th European Individual Gymnastics Championships in Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s Catalina Ponor said Sunday that she had worked a lot for the gold medal and that she wanted Romania’s national anthem to be played once again at the event’s venue, after on Saturday it had been played for fellow gymnast Marian Dragulescu.
“Today was a good day, I was a bit nervous, but in a constructive way. I overcame my nervousness and that earned me the gold medal. I am very excited and happy; I worked a lot for the medal. I had been working for it since 2015. At the 2016 Olympics there was nervousness, but now I finally managed to climb the highest step of the podium. I wanted with all my heart for the national anthem to be played once again here for us, Romanians. And I am glad I did it. I want to dedicate this medal to all Romanians, but especially to my parents, who have always been by my side,” said Ponor.
The three-time Olympic champion said her latest medal is part of a special category because it was won before a Romanian public. “This gold joins the special medals in my tally. Those I won at the Athens Olympic Games stay normally the most important, but this one here will surely remain a special one as well. Nervousness today was constructive. I felt the same way in 2004 when I would, so to say, impudently compete without paying attention to what was happening around me. I did the same now, and I am glad I succeeded. I do not know whether or not I have bested Nadia [Comaneci] in terms of European medals [retired Comaneci won 12, while Ponor, still competing, has reached 13] because I have not counted them. To me, getting the result I wanted was important. I tried to compose myself, downplaying my aches and pains and putting on a routine that I know how,” the gymnast said.
Ponor, 29, said she was not thinking about retiring: “I most certainly go on. When you hear me saying in my own voice that I am retiring, I will probably do so. I have not said so for the time being. How about Tokyo [2020 Olympic Games]? Let us take it step by step; that would be the best. The world championships are nearing in; the joy lasted as long as I mounted the podium and the Romanians applauded me. Now, we have to return to the gym and start it all over again.”