Fifteen-year-old gymnast Ava Verdeflor put up an impressive performance to advance to the final round of the Women’s Uneven Bars event and the Women’s All-Around event in the 2nd Youth Olympic Games on Monday in Nanjing, China.
Texas-based Verdeflor scored 12.450 in the uneven bars event to rank 6th among 40 gymnasts from around the world.
Only top 8 gymnasts per event get to advance to the finals, with China’s Yan Wang leading the pack with her 13.250 points.
Also making the womens’ uneven bars finals are Iosra Abdelaziz of Italy (13.100 points), Seda Tutkhalyan of Russia (13.000 points), Sae Miyakawa of Japan (12.850 points), Laura Jurca of Romania (12.800 points), Antonia Alicke of Germany (12.350 points) and Stephanie Hernandez of Mexico (12.150).
The girls will battle it out for the Women’s Uneven Bars gold medal on Saturday at 8:40pm.
Verdeflor though fell short in her bid for another final appearance in the three other individual apparatus event, as she ended 13th in the Women’s Balance Beam with 12.700 points, 20th in the Women’s Floor Exercise with 11.950 points, and 28th in the Women’s Vault event with 13.100 points.
Her total points of 50.200 though was enough to rank her 12th in the Women’s All Around event, thus advancing the Women’s All-Around Finals on Wednesday at 7:00pm.
Only the top 18 All-Around best times advance to the Wednesday’s finals.
“I’m really happy on how I performed, maybe not so much on the beam but I feel like I did good on the floor and vault,” said the Tarlac-born Verdeflor.
Elissa Downie of Great Britain topped the Women’s All Around qualifying round with 53.500 points after posting the highest scores in the vault (14.900) and floor exercise (13.500) and placing second in the beam (13.500).
“I have to be confident when I qualify (in the finals). Beam wasn’t my best but hopefully next time it will be better,” said Verdeflor.
“I’m really nervous today and I had to get my nerves in check,” she added.
Verdeflor currently trains at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas under the close watch of the well-known Russian coach Yvgeny Marchenko.
Marchenko, the former coach of USA’s Olympic gold medal gymnast Carly Patterson, was all praises to Verdeflor considering that the 2nd YOG is her first big international meet, but stressed that Verdeflor can still improve her showing in the finals.
“Obviously, we had some mistakes, but we could do better. Our goal is to be in the finals, so we’ll see how the rest of the competition goes,” added the Russian, who was the US National Team Coach from 1999 to 2007.
“She (Verdeflor) has a lot of potential. She can do a lot much better and we’re looking forward to many, many good more years,” said Marchenko.