Gymnastics: Romania fail to make Rio Olympics team cut

Reuters , Monday 18 Apr 2016

Romania's remarkable four-decade long Olympic medal streak in women's gymnastics ended in bitter tears at the Rio test event after they failed to qualify a full team for the Brazil Games.

Romania -- a country used to showcasing perfection in gymnastics ever since Nadia Comaneci landed the first 10.0 score at the Montreal Games -- had scooped a team medal at every Olympics since 1976, including gold in 1984, 2000 and 2004.

However, they will not be lining up in the women's team competition in Rio as they followed up their doomed outing in last year's Glasgow world championships, when they placed 13th, by failing to finish in the top four in the test event on Sunday.

The top eight teams from the 2015 world championships gained automatic Olympic qualification and were joined by the top four -- Brazil, Germany, Belgium, France -- from the Rio test event.

The women's teams from United States, Russia, Britain, China, Italy, Japan, Canada, Netherlands had already secured their berths last year.

It proved to be a weekend to forget for former gymnastics powerhouse Romania as the men's team also failed to make the Olympic cut, leaving the country with the consolation prize of sending just one female and two male gymnasts to the August 5-21 Games.

While Romania's chances of adding to the 24 golds their women have won since 1976 will now lie with a sole representative in Brazil, Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina and India's Dipa Karmakar will be celebrating milestones in South America.

The 40-year-old, well-travelled Chusovitina will become the first gymnast to compete at seven successive Olympics, adding another chapter to a glittering career in which she has represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, Uzbekistan, Germany and finally Uzbekistan again.

At the end of the other spectrum, Karmakar will become the first Indian woman to compete at the Olympics after she capitalised on her late inclusion in the test event field to make the cut.

Olympic horizontal bar champion Epke Zonderland was also forced to make the long journey to Rio a few months before he would have wanted to after flopping in Glasgow last year.

But the Dutchman made the most of his second chance as his high-flying antics helped the Netherlands to secure qualification for the Olympic men's team competition for the first time.

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