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Russian Worlds Training Squad

August 23, 2011

Russia has become the first of the top four countries (Russia, Romania, USA and China) to name their top 8 gymnasts who will train for worlds. The top four all arounders from the Russian Cup, Viktoria Komova, Yulia Belokobylskaya, Ksenia Afanasyeva and Anna Dementyeva, made the team as expected. Those four will apparently compete all around in prelims at worlds. Tatiana Nabieva, who also seemed like a virtual lock given the slight lack of depth in Russia right now, was also named to the team to compete vault and bars. The final gymnast to make the team was Maria Paseka, who will compete vault and floor.

All six gymnasts seem to be competing vault and only four seem to even be training beam (Nabieva and Paseka did not compete it at the Russian Cup). Yulia Belokobylskaya would probably be the first one to be excluded from vault in prelims, because it is likely that she can only make the all around if two of Afanasyeva, Komova and Dementyeva make mistakes. Beam? Well, they all have to hit in prelims, or else they might end starting on bars or beam in team finals. I can’t imagine them screwing up enough to start on floor or not qualify, though.

At the moment, the alternates are Alyona Polyan and Yulia Inshina.

Rodionenko said that with Komova, “we still have time to pull together the other two events, while still protecting her. If we can pull her together by October, then she will be No. 1 on the team.” They seem confident that she can help the team on all of the events by October, and be an all around force, which is great news for the team. Overall, I think that this team makes sense and that they will do well in Tokyo.

Rodionenko also had good things to say about Anastasia Grishina and Anastasia Sidorova, who are both too young for worlds this year but should be strong contenders for the olympic team. He said, “Grishina is at the same level as Komova, and Sidorova has three very strong events.” Maybe I am reading too much into the first statement, but Grishina truly being at the same level as Komova (I am assuming this is full difficulty Komova) could be a very big deal for team Russia.


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