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Russia Cup preparations and TV shoot ... picture gallery

The Russian team is hard at work, seriously preparing for the forthcoming selection for World Championships, and considering the path ahead to Rio.  It is essential that both the men’s and women’s teams finish in the top eight in order to qualify to fight for medals in the next Olympics.

The Russia Cup, an important stage in qualification for the senior national team in Glasgow, begins in Penza, next Wednesday, the 16th September.  Hopefully, there will be live streaming and I will do my level best to keep you informed of all relevant information.  Check my Twitter feed and Facebook page for instant links; it will take me longer to update the main blog.

It has already been established that Aliya Mustafina will not be competing here, and rings specialist Alexander Balandin will also be missing.  After more than a year out of action with a serious shoulder injury, we heard today that poor Alexander has to go for more surgery.  It is hoped that he will be able to participate in nationals next spring.  We wish him a full recovery.  Emin Garibov too has had more than his fair share of injury, but we will see him on three apparatus in Penza.  His participation in worlds is in the balance.

I wonder if Russia can produce any champions in Glasgow.  Competition in the women’s field is fiercer than ever, and the Russians seem more likely to contend for silver and bronze medals than gold at this stage of the game, as Andrei Rodionenko said a couple of weeks ago.  The men’s competition is a different animal, with the specialists playing the main role in title fights.  With more medals to contend on the men’s side, Russia might stand a better chance of gold there than in women’s, this time round.  But it will be difficult.

All Championships are won thanks to the discipline and hard work of the athlete.   What he or she does every day is all that really matters when it comes to those few seconds on the podium.  That’s why it is so good to see a photo gallery today on the RGF website, recording the team’s serious work, alongside a visit from the production team of children’s TV show, SpokinoiNochi, Malishy! (Good Night, Little Ones!).  This popular TV show is transmitted by Russia 1 every weekday night at bedtime, and has run since 1968.  This week, little dog Philya met with some of the gymnasts and observed them in training.  I have picked out a few select images below for you to enjoy and reflect upon.

Emin Garibov with Philya the dog. On his Instagram account, Emin says : '20 years ago, who would have dreamed of being in the studio for a chat with Khryusha, Philya, Stepashka and Karkusha?  It is a childhood dream come true ...'

Maria Paseka's lovely smile and natural demeanour makes her perfect for children's TV.  She's not bad at vault and bars, either!

Head coach Andrei Rodionenko has a lot on his mind at the moment.  Will the Russian team be able to meet its Olympic medal targets in 2016?

Alla Sosnitskaya in a dramatic pose on the beam.  Assuming she has recovered fully from injury, she is one of four gymnasts who will be contending for an all around spot on the team in the absence of Mustafina - Tutkhalyan, Kharenkova and Shelgunova are the other three.

Angelina Melnikova will become eligible for the senior team in 2016, but is training as seriously as if she were qualifying for Glasgow.  She is, quite probably, one more all arounder for Russia, who are building strength in depth.

Ksenia Afanasyeva, with a new, shorter haircut, discusses a fine point of execution with coach Marina Nazarova.  Former teammate and assistant coach Ksenia Semenova looks on.

The serioius minded Maria Kharenkov with her personal coach, Olga Sagina

One of three gymnasts on the team who are trained by Marina Ulyankina, Seda Tutkhalyan has her first big chance to prove her reliability and competitive spirit at next week's Russia Cup.

Ksenia Afanasyeva in typical dramatic motion, her downcast eyes adding to the expression of the moment.

Viktoria Komova does some conditioning with coach Anton Stolyar

The mature and competitive Daria Spiridinova is expected to be a bars specialist in Glasgow, but she still practices floor

The powerful, lyrical Anastasia Dmitrieva provides great back up for Ksenia Afanasyeva on floor and beam

Viktoria was evidently working hard on floor, showing her trademark polish

Evgeniya Shelgunova is assiduous and a good team player.  Will Glasgow finally provide her with an opportunity to prove her worth on the World stage?


  1. Thanks for posting! I can't wait to see how they all do. I wish them all luck!


  2. Alla Sosnitskaya looks suprisingly elegant and stylish in that shot. It certainly makes me excited to see the choreography in her floor routine which in previous years I don't always feel she has looked quite comfortable with when performing it. Perhaps now in the last year or so she has developed her own style and can now come into her own in the performance element on floor.

  3. Queen Elizebeth, why do teams have to qualify as top 8 in order to make the Rio Olympic games? In London, isn't there team qualifications first then selecting 8 teams out for Team final?

    1. Quali rules here -


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