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  • Writer's pictureKensley Behel

2023 Osijek World Gymnastics Cup Recap

The 14th Osijek World Gymnastics Cup took place in Croatia from June 5 - June 11, 2023.


It was a competition of redemption for Bulgaria's Eddie Penev. Penev won his first World Challenge Cup in 2014 while competing for Team USA. Nine years later, he is still winning World Challenge Cup titles. Opening with a difficult and powerful double-double straight, he looked unstoppable. On is second pass, a front-handspring Randi, he grabbed his right knee and it looked as though he might have been injured. Knee injuries have plagued his career, onlookers feared the worst. However, he kept going. Dismounting with a front handspring double full and a small hop, he earned a score of 14.1 that ultimately led him to gold making it two in a row for the Bulgarian.


The next three titles were won by Armenian teammates Gagik Khachikyan (pommel horse), Artur Avetisyan (still rings), and Artur Davtyan (vault). Artur Davtyan is nothing if not the art of consistency. The World Champion put an exclamation mark in his bid for gold by sticking both his Dragulescu and Handspring Randi vaults.



Illia Kovtun has proven nearly unbeatable on parallel bars this season, despite steep competition. The only gymnast to break the 15 mark on parallel bars, Kovtun beat Olympic Bronze medalist, Ferhat Arican to take the title.


Brazil's Caio Souza ended the competition with a surprise gold medal, beating former world champions Arthur Mariano Nory (BRA) and Tin Srbic (CRO). Though he won Croatia's only medal of the competition, it was a fight. Srbic said in an interview with the FIG, "I fought till the end; I had no choice in front of this incredible audience. I couldn't give up in front of the President of the Republic of Croatia."


While his fight was admirable, his place on the podium was controversial. The judges mistakenly awarded him credit for a skill he had previously completed (a tak 1/2,) The mistake was never rectified. Therefore, he was given a 6.0D score instead of a 5.7. This is, of course, not a reflection of Srbic, but rather a problem with accountability and due processes being followed.


The Osijek World Cup concluded the Spring competitions. The World Challenge Cup series will resume September 1 - 3 in Mersin Turkey.


Article by: Kensley Behel

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