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Raducan Dominates Romanian International 2000

The 44th edition of the Romanian International took place this week-end at Ploiesti, perennial host of the annual spring meet. This year, the competition was as much of a social event, as it was a gymnastics meet. The presence of Nadia Comaneci, accompanied by her husband, Bart Conner, and the retirement ceremonies for some of the most beloved gymnasts in the country, brought forth numerous sports, cultural and political personalities who flooded the Olimpia gym yesterday [Sunday] morning. Unfortunately, the technical level of the event was nothing to write home about; at times the foreign competitors looked downright ridiculous, meaning the battle for the podium was an almost exclusive Romanian affair. The meet organizers only made matters worse, when the event went over time by an unreasonable amount of time, adding to the chaos that dominated the competition venue. In fact, the "starts" of the competition were the ones who suffered the most, coming close to getting injured on several occasions because they didn't have the necessary "space" to concentrate before and during their routines. On top of this were added the expected difficulties that come with accommodating to a new COP. As expected, Andreea Raducan won the women's AA with a total of 36.868 pts, as well as gold medals on vault (9.237), beams (9.500) and floor (9.550. Dutch gymnast Verona Van De Leur won the uneven bars final with a 9,413. In the men's event, AA winner Marian Dragulescu (55.525 pts), claimed gold on vault with a 9.6 average. Dan Potra won gold on floor (9.475) and rings (9.587), while Marius Urzica continued his pommel horse domination, wining with a score of 9.863. Israel's Pavel Goffman won the p-bars final with an 8.850, and Swiss gymnast Christoph Schaerer claimed high bar gold with a 9.550.

As far the non-athletic events are concerned, we should note a big time blunder on the part of the organizers. Yesterday, the Romanian Sports Ministry staff was informed there will be a retirement ceremony for 4 golden gymnasts, meaning Simona Amanar, Maria Olaru, Claudia Presecan and Corina Ungureanu, with several ministers, including Georgiu Gingara minister of the Sports & Youth Department, and ROC president Ion Tiriac scheduled to attend the ceremony. The guests of honor were very surprised to find out part of the ceremony had already taken place Saturday, before the rest of the ceremony, namely Ploiesti's own Corina Ungureanu had already been honored. The separate ceremony was a ridiculous act of discrimination, that opened Pandora's box yet again, and brought back the scandal started two years ago, when the former gymnast posed for Playboy. State secretary Nicolae Marasescu summed up the situation saying "What Corina did after she quit gymnastics has nothing to do with this, because the ceremony deals with her sports career." The decision to hold separate ceremonies came after head coach Octavian Belu expressed his disapproval over Corina's presence saying she wasn't the same caliber gymnast as the others honored.

The Ploiesti mayor issued a proposal, requesting the competition bear Nadia Comaneci's name from now. "


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