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'Mustafina is no longer in pain' - Valentina Rodionenko

Picture of Aliya Mustafina, courtesy of RGF

Valentina Rodionenko has provided some updates on the Russian teams and how their preparation for Worlds (Nanning, China, 3 to 12 October) is progressing, via Allsports (

- The teams are now at camp in Italy, in two small towns close to Milan, by the sea, where the girls travelled on 29th June and the men on 1 July.  The athletes aren't only training, they can also relax.

- Komova is working out at Round Lake, she didn't go to Italy.  We will see how she does at the Russia Cup, which will be held late August in Penza. Tatiana Nabiyeva is looking good in training and the other girls are also working.  Ksenia Afanasyeva won't have time to prepare for Worlds, and Anastasia Grishina's participation is also in doubt, we just don't know if she will qualify for the team.  

We have hopes for Aliya Mustafina.  As always, she is our number one.  It would be great if there were time for Komova to prepare two apparatus.  Valentina says she doesn't want to jinx the women's team but they are all working well.

Men's team captain Emin Garibov is trying very hard (recovering from surgery to both shoulders).  He really wants to make it onto the team for Worlds.  Let's see how he does in Penza.  The competition will be held just a month before departure for China - they are travelling to Penza on the 25th September.  

Aliya has had her consultation in Germany, and the brace is now off.  Nothing hurts any more!  She is very happy!

In other news, Russia has confirmed that Nikita Nagorny and Seda Tutkhalyan will represent them at the Youth Olympic Games (16th to 28th August)


  1. Hmmmm, I question wether or not these "vacation" type training trips are the best this close to Worlds. (then again, I am not a coach or gymnast, so I may be ignorant of training methods). I surely hope that these trips so not distract or take the focus off training for the already struggling and seemingly out of sorts Russian squad.

    I am glad that the Rods are finally fully embracing Aliya though: "As always, she is our number one."
    Of course, they are still discrediting Grishina, hoping to diminish her chance for the team, despite the fact that her recovery went quickly (and returned about the time of Komova?)

    By the way, are there 5 or 6 World team members? Japan announced 6 gymnasts, but I thought one may be an alternate.

  2. I really think are great news. I am very happy Alya have recovered so quickly. I honestly think a sensible attitude in Keeping Komova and Grishina in Round Lake, because unfortunately,they have no emotional skills, and return in a major championship after injury, would be foolhardy. If they get right, the moral would go upstairs. But what if they do not get the E and the D-scores expected? They would fall apart. I'm not casting doubt on the ability of either. They are amazing gymnasts. Honestly, I would be very happy to see Komova and Grishina again with Alyia. Viktoria and Nastia are fantastic, perfect lines, but the emotional part is 50% of capacity to compete But Alyia, Maria Kharenkova, Alla and Daria are gymnasts that please me. I liked the team that went to the Europeans, except Rodionova. They need to work hard to no have make mistakes, keep a clean execution of exercises and increase the degree of difficulty. Rodionova can not seem to do it so easily and quickly..

  3. So it really seems that they are already pre determined to bring Komova to worlds as long as she can stand on two feet by then, whether it be 1, 2, 3 or 4 apparatus she contributes on. I am very excited for her return to the big world stage but am wondering whether this determined "free pass" of sorts in the mind of Valentina could hinder the morale of the other girls who are healthy and working hard to make that 6 slot team to Nanjing.

    I am also rooting for Russia to cotend for a team medal but am worried that a team that could potentially be so heavy on event specialists could be damaging. It seems they will have no problem covering high bars & beam scores, but will be unable to attain the vault & floor scores unless they bring several of the gymnasts who may get left home by the sounds of it. Queen Elizabeth do you have any similar concerns with the potential team as it might be shaping up for worlds per Valentinas hints?

    I am also feeling that yet again Grishina will not be given a real chance this year even if she is mostly ready by selection time. The way Valentina presents her information it is so clearly negative in her choice of wording compared to what is actually almost excitement and positivity towards Komova's preperation. Although nothing rude or discriminatory was said, it seems easy to read into the "tone" of the message a little and gather that she just doesn't feel Grishina will be worthy of a worlds team.

    On a positive note I am happy to hear Mustafina seems healthy and the surgery was a success. I do hope the Russian girls can bring home several medal colors from worlds. I know the US has a good strong pool of contenders on every apparatus to select from this year so I do hope Russia is able to put up a fight and give us a really close match this year!

    1. I think the team is in transition and it is difficult really to say anything without seeing how the team is training.

      I doubt Komova will ever return as an all around gymnast, which seems a waste to me.

      Sad to hear of Afanasyeva's absence and it does also seem that Grishina has been manoeuvred out.

      I suppose these Worlds will be a testing ground. I would like to see Spirodonova, Sosnitskaya and Kharenkova do well as well as Mustafina.

    2. I don't get why you doubt Komova will ever be an all around gymnast again. Before she got sick Valentina said Vika had all of her routines but of course we can't just take her word just like we can't dismiss it either. Also, her vault in the last competition look powerful enough to be upgraded to a DYT. That will only leave her floor that can be better than any of the current gymnasts in the team besides Mustafina.

    3. I think Komova can still compete AA eventually.... Even if she competes just 2 events this year, that is still a step up from last year....where she had to miss out entirely! One forgets that last year she was prepared and ready to compete....and then got suddenly ill. It could have happened to anybody. She just has the worst luck. Those issues were for a different problem entirely. If she was lucky, had not gotten so sick, she would have competed and did well most likely.

    4. I'm also delighted to hear Mustafina's successful surgery! She always bounce back quickly injuries after injuries, proving she's a really fierce fighter and role model of other gymnasts. I hope this can inspire her buddy, Vika, to stay strong in Russian Cup and to shine in this year's Worlds.

    5. I also doubt Komova will return as an AA gymnast. She's too fragile. She's had at least 3 surgeries (maybe 4) on her ankle. There's not much left to tie together there any longer and expect her to withstanding the pounding of vault and floor. At best, a two event gymnast, IMHO.

  4. I doubt the team will compete for better than third place in the World, as things stand, however.

    1. Do you think they can even medal? As a fan of team Russia, I really hope so, but the team China is really strong! Yao and Shang appeared strong in Chinese National this year...what do you think?

    2. China will fight with the US for the world title and the bronze will be between Romania and Russia.

    3. Actually I think Russia has a fair shot at a medal at this point (and a GREAT shot should Vika be ready on bars and beam). If Grishina isn't ready by worlds, I'd expect the team to be Mustafina, Sosnitskaya, Kharenkova, Komova, Spiridonova, and Paseka/Nabieva (vault).

      VT: Musty, Sos, Paseka/Nabs (3 DTYs)
      UB: Musty, Komova, Spir (3 amazing bar routines)
      BB: Musty, Kharenkova, Komova (3 good beam routines)
      FX: Musty, Sos, Kharenkova (3 decent floor routines)

      With this team, Russia could contend for silver possibly. Of course, this is with a healthy, 2 event Komova. If she's not ready on beam, then Spiridonova might have to step in for her; as long as Spiridonova doesn't repeat her Euros TF performance, then Russia's still fine.

      I don't think China is as strong as people might think. Due to the team's current dearth in seniors, the Chinese are struggling to scrape together 3 DTYs and 3 decent floor routines for TF at the moment.

      VT: Tan Jiaxin, Yao, ???
      UB: Shang, Huang, Yao (amazing lineup)
      BB: Huang/Yao, Bai Yawen, Shang (great lineup)
      FX: Yao, Shang, ???

      On vault, they have 2 strong DTYs with Tan and Yao (possibly an amanar from Tan), but what about the 3rd vault? Chen Siyi has a DTY but with a 50% hit ratio, and China's only other option is using a weak FTY from Shang unless someone upgrades quickly. Again, on floor, they have 2 decent routines with Yao and Shang, but what about a third routine?
      Possible options: Chen Siyi (5.6 D score, low hit ratio), Huang Huidan (low 13s score), Bai Yawen (low 13s score)

      Basically, China has the potential to factor into the medals, but they'll have to rely on some very inexperienced and inconsistent girls who've never been to worlds. My guess is USA gold, and silver and bronze up in the air (between Russia, Romania, China, and GB- don't count them out!).

    4. Russia has to rely on inexperienced and inconsistent girls as well. Spir is hot and cold and if I remember properly she fell on her bar routine aat Euros. Komova would need to have some difficulty for her bar routine. She is inconsistent on beam so it is a 50/50 and I doubt she would be ready for beam, she hasn't been training for long, so if she is ready for anything it would be bars. Personally I won't get hopes of seeing her at Worlds until I actually see her in qualifying and doing the event.

      Nabieva's form is bad, so her getting a high score on vault is not good, she might get a decent score though. I am not sure how good Sos would be on floor.

      Russia is similar to China in that they are restructuring after the last quad but I believe at the moment, China is ahead of them. We rarely hear what is coming out of China so I can't make predictions on how they are doing currently.

    5. I do agree that many of the Russian girls are inexperienced and inconsistent; however, Spir, Sos, and Kharenkova all at least have Euros experience under their belt (this is a bit more experience than many of the Chinese seniors, excluding the girls on last year's worlds team).

      The girl you're thinking of (who fell during her TF bars routine) was actually Rodionova; Spiridonova was very consistent on bars at Euros hitting 3 for 3 and scoring between 14.9 and 15.066 on all three routines. However, Spir did fall from beam, so she is hot n cold there.

      Yes, Nabieva's form is quite horrible, but she gets the job done and could be called upon for a decent vault or bars routine. If Paseka still has the amanar or a stronger DTY than Nabieva, she'll go instead of Nabs.

      I think Sos is a pretty solid floor worker. She has scored very well both nationally and internationally, consistently scoring equal to or higher than Kharenkova at Euros. Sos also made floor finals at Euros and scored a respectable 14.266, so I'd say she's a valuable floor and vault specialist for Russia which is exactly what the team needs.

      Yes, it's difficult to predict the Chinese team; I was basing my predictions off of the most recent national championship in May.

    6. Yeah but a little Euro's experience still make them inexperience to me. Either way, they just need to develop some mental toughness which will help them. I guess we will see how they do. A bronze at Worlds would be good for them but they will be up against some good teams for it, Chinese, British etc.
      I know Paseka has been working on bars as well, so after not being picked for Euros maybe she is finally working harder.

    7. Maria Paseka is training a Rudi, she might perform a Rudi if not Amanar....anyway she would not perform a 5.8 DTY. With only a DTY, I don't think she'll make the team.

  5. I doubt we will see Komova at worlds. It seems everytime she is to compete at a big tournament she gets injured or something happens. I doubt she would be ready in time for worlds, so having her on the team for 1 even makes no sense since Russia doesn't have depth covered for all events. If she can do 2 or 3, that would be nice.

    I didn't think Grishina would be ready in time either, her injury was quite serious. How Valentina talks about Grishina was how she use to speak about Aliya before as well, there isn't much positive mentioned with regards to her. Either way, Grishina is in college and doing a good major so if she doesn't happen to make it as a gymnast, she will have that to fall back on. I would love to see her come back stronger next year though if possible.

    These training/vacation trips, I guess can be fun, I am not sure if it works on stamina or whatever, but if it helps them I guess it is alright.

    Russia's main problem is lack of depth and also difficulty.

    1. I know what you mean about those trips looking/being fun. Judging from the pictures, they certainly look like they're on vacation and not seriously training....that's for sure. If they get eaten alive at worlds and miss the podium entirely, we'll know why perhaps.... Meanwhile, the Americans are under close scrutiny and getting some hard conditioning.... Camp after camp....and these are not sunbathing/posing ones either. I think the Russians need a complete overhaul of their conditioning/training regimen....

    2. Though the camps might be too relaxing to certain gymnasts, like Maria Kharenkova who seriously need to improve her consistency and execution, the camps are very suitable for Mustafina. After surgery and all those non-stop appearance in major competitions, she seriously needs some rest. The Russians are over-using her, and she is at high risk of getting other injuries because of that. Training in a relaxing manner is good for Mustafina:)) They made wise decision leaving Komova in Round Lake, as she needs to make up time to train instead of relaxing.

  6. I need to go to the doctor that cured Aliya! I recently tore my tendon (just partially) but the medicine they are giving me is NOT working. Perhaps i need a trip to Germany too lol.

    I feel so sorry for Russia; they've sent stronger teams in the past and still came up short to the U.S, so what's to be expected this time? Third at Euro's means you're left off the podium at World's... on the other hand, they do tend to upgrade drastically after Euro's (this often makes their consistency worse tho). Well, i'm still hoping to see a good show from newbies like CAN and GBR. And it seems the battle will be between US and China this year, with a heavy favoring towards the US taking gold easily. If CHN can snatch the silver that is still quite the accomplishment since their program appeared in shambles last year. CHN experienced the same thing RUS did post-Olympics (massive changes in head coaching and staff, questioning the medal results, dismissals and accusations, gymnasts retiring from pressure etc.) and yet they've managed to rebuild quickly...hmmm...what's going on Russia?

    1. Maybe Russia is starting to rebuild now. Hopefully because they are should amazing gymnasts! And like you said, they do upgrade at worlds/ Olympics drastically. I mean just look at 2012, they didn't even win Euro's but they managed to win the silver by a good margin over Romania even with there catastrophes! I want Russia To be as strong as the Olympics! They were so good!! Obviously inconsistent but it was awesome seeing such gigantic display of skills with such unbelievable artistry.

    2. Going to be fun next year when Brazil returns to power. :)

  7. Does anyone know if Shelgunova has recovered from her injury?

    1. I was just wondering this the other day. She had hideous form issues on bars, but that is Russia's strongest event. I think she was a good fit for the Russian team in that she had huge difficulty on beam, but more importantly she was very confident and pretty reliable. Also, she was training an Amanar, though injury has probably meant that never got to a stage where she could successfully perform it in competition.

    2. She is happily posting pictures of herself and her favourite dishes in Instagram, but I don't know if she is back in training ... Ditto Grishina.
      I think another reason behind Zrussia's waning bank of competitors is that once they get used to time off, they realise what they are missing by having to be in the gym all the time ... They enjoy themselves too much :-)

  8. I'm curious to see who will be the second all arounder for Russia at Worlds. Obviously Aliya, but Alla and Maria are the only thing close to another AAer that Russia has at the moment.

    1. They will need at least two all arounders because of the 6-5-4 format of qualis. My hope is that they give Kharenkova a chance. Despite her weak bars, she is the ambitious one on the team, besides Mustafina. I also frankly do not see what other choice they have.

    2. Alla came second in April. I think she has potential to upgrade her routines. Rodionenko mentioned they are working on a new vault with her.

    3. They could have three all arounders - that wouldn't be unusual.
      Maybe it is tempting fate to speculate, but what would your line ups for quals be?


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