Sendel, Smith bounce to best-ever scores at trampoline World Cup in France
MOUILLERON-LE-CAPTIF, France, October 10 - Samantha Sendel of Aurora, Ont., and Samantha Smith of Toronto both soared to best-ever scores in the prelims en route to placing fifth and seventh respectively in the women’s individual final on Saturday at a trampoline World Cup.
Former world champions Li Dan and Zhong Xingping of China finished 1-2 in the final and Piatrena Tatsiana of Belarus was third.
“I wasn’t expecting to get into the final so I’m very happy with the result,” said Sendel, who celebrated her 24th birthday along with her performance.
“I got into a little bit of trouble in the final but luckily I made it through 10 tricks and ended up in fifth place against some pretty tough competition.”
Sendel and Smith, gearing up for the world championships next month in Denmark, both got a big boost of confidence with their best-ever scores in the prelims on Friday.
Smith, who made her big breakthrough at the 2014 world championships to finish eighth, took another step forward with a score of 55.150 points for her optional routine while Sendel soared to a career-high 54.135 points.
“There are only about 10 girls who have scored over 55 points so these results are just awesome,” said Canadian high performance director Stephan Duchesne of Montreal. “That was definitely the highlight of the competition.”
Veteran Karen Cockburn of Toronto had an off-day and placed 27th in the prelims in a field of 51 competitors.
Canada’s world championship women’s trampoline team will consist of Sendel, Smith, Cockburn and reigning Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan who did not compete this weekend.
In men’s tumbling Jon Schwaiger of Burlington, Ont., was the top Canadian, moving up from eighth in prelims to finish fifth in the final.
David Findlay of Hamilton, Ont., placed 14th and Michael Chaves of Oakville, Ont., was 19th.
In women’s tumbling Raphaelle Villotte of Montreal, qualified for the final and finished in eighth place.
“Raphaelle had some trouble in the final but this was a good experience for her and it will give her a good boost going into the world championships,” said Duchesne.