Gold medal favourite Hancharou will get extra bounce from home fans' backing
June 23 2019

Rio 2016 Olympics champion Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus will be expected to land at the top of the podium when he jumps on to a trampoline on home territory at his second European Games.

Having won the silver medal in the men's individual tournament at Baku 2015 behind Russia's Dmitry Ushakov, who is not competing in Minsk, Hancharou is the favourite here.

The 23-year-old Belarusian began competing on the world stage in 2010 and has consistently been among the top competitors since 2014. This year he has finished third and first in two World Cup events.  

Other top contenders include Ilya Grishunin of Azerbaijan who won bronze at Baku 2015, Russia's Andrey Yudin who finished eighth at the Rio 2016 Olympics and third at the 2018 world championships, and France's Allan Morante who last year came fifth at the world championships and third at the European championships.  

Hancharou will compete in the synchronised tournament with Aleh Rabtsau. Hancharou won silver in this discipline with Mikalai Kazak at Baku 2015, but the Hancharou-Rabtsau duo look to be in a class of their own in Minsk after being crowned world champions in 2017 and 2018. 

In the women's competition, Russia's Yana Pavlova will be seeking a double double, having won the gold medals in individual and synchronised at Baku 2015. She won the synchronised alongside Anna Kornetskaya four years ago but will be paired with Irina Kundius this time round. 

The Olympic champion's wife Hanna Hancharova, who took the bronze medal at Baku 2015, is likely to push Pavlova for gold and has the added impetus of a cheering home crowd.

France's Marine Jurbert, Baku 2015 silver medallist in synchro alongside Joelle Vallez, partners Lea Labrousse at these Games. The duo came fourth at the world championships in 2018.  

One thing that's certain about trampoline is the uncertainty of outcome. With gymnasts soaring more than 10 metres in the air there are always twists and turns and it needs only a split second for a top contender to bounce off the trampoline and crash out of a competition.     

GNS jc/ar/tc

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