Ponor to lead Romania at Rio gymnastics qualifiers

Rio de Janeiro, April 1 (IANS) Five-time Olympic medallist Catalina Ponor will be among the competitors at the final Rio 2016 gymnastics qualifying event.

Ponor leads a Romanian team that will be vying for one of four Olympic places during the April 16-22 competition, organisers said on Thursday, reports Xinhua.

It will also serve as the sport’s official test event for the first Olympic Games in South America, to be held from August 5 to 21.

Other nations bidding for a place will be Brazil, France, Belgium, Germany, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland.

Ponor, who won three gold medals at the 2004 Games in Athens, will attempt to turn around her team’s fortunes after their disappointing display at last year’s world championships in Glasgow.

The one-time giants of the sport failed to finish in the top eight of the women’s team competition, meaning they missed out on an automatic berth in Rio.

Ponor said she would assume a mentor role to help her younger teammates cope with the pressure of earning an Olympic berth.

“I work for this: I want to help the girls qualify for the Olympics,” the 28-year-old was quoted as saying by Rio2016.com

The Romanian team will also feature Laura Jurca, Silvia Zarzu, Anamaria Ocolisan, Diana Laura Bulimar, Dora Vulcan and Anda Butuc.

In total, there will be 100 Olympic places on offer across three disciplines: artistic, rhythmic and trampoline.

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