Bény, Kuhm win French titles

Pierre-Yves Bény (FRA)

Pierre-Yves Bény and Anne Kuhm led all competitors to win the national titles at the Championnat de France Elite on Saturday in Nantes.

Bény, second at last year’s Championnat de France Elite, scored 86.700 to win the men’s title. A veteran of the French team, he has been plagued by injuries over the years. The most recent, a torn bicep, kept him out of the 2011 World Championships after a strong performance at the European Championships earlier in the year.

Arnaud Willig kept the competition close, scoring 86.550 for second place, while defending champion Cyril Tommasone was third at 85.700, brought down by a 12.250/4.8 on high bar.

2010 national champion Hamilton Sabot had a good day on the four events he competed (no floor or vault), capped by a 15.550/6.7 parallel bars routine. Rings specialist Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues was successful on his event, scoring 15.850/7.1

Benoit Caranobe, the 2008 Olympic all around bronze medalist, has returned to competition following the achilles and ankle injury suffered at the 201o World Championships.  In Nantes, he competed on all events except vault, but is still working to regain form and conditioning and

Kuhm has done well in her first year of senior competition, helping France to a fifth place finish at the European Championships. On Saturday, she scored 55.600, with her only major error being a fall from beam. Marine Brevet, the 2010 national champion, was not far behind at 55.100, and Sophia Serseri completed the podium, scoring 52.850.

Youna Dufournet competed only vault, bars, and beam, and faltered on the latter two. Her uneven bars routine – once again revised, including a Ricna – was going well until she missed a Stalder pirouette, dropping her E score to 7.9.

Also notable in the results, although unlikely to have an impact on the French Olympic selection, was the return of 2008 Olympian Katheleen Lindor, who has been retired since 2009. She placed seventh with 48.700.

France’s men’s and women’s teams have both been hit hard by injuries going in to the Olympics. Former world vault champion Thomas Bouhail’s future in the sport is still questionable following a serious injury at the end of 2011. Samïr Ait Saïd injured during team finals at the European Championships, is expected to be out at least six month’s. Yann Cucherat, another European Championships casualty, is missing this weekend’s competition but hopes to petition onto the Olympic team.

On the women’s side, Clara della Vedova and Camille Coudret will both miss the Olympics due to injury. In addition to injuries, the women’s program is also acclimating to recent retirements. Marine Petit and Rose Eliandre Bellemare, key members of the national team in recent years, have both called it quits on international competition, as has former junior standout Natalia Zolataryova.

Competition continues Sunday with event finals. The Olympic team is expected to be announced Sunday evening.

Complete results at www.ffgym.com.