On a recent trip to Athens, I was lucky enough to have dinner with Greek Elite gymnast Evangelia Plyta, over some Gyros (if you’ve never tried one you must, it’s all your favourite food wrapped in a flatbread) she answered some of The Couch Gymnasts questions and some submitted by fans.
Evangelia had her international debut in 2011 at the EYOF in Trabzon. At the 2012 Junior European Championships in Brussels she made the event finals on bars finishing in 6th place scoring 13.833.
Couch Gymnast: You have a very beautiful name, where does it come from?
Evangelia Plyta: It’s from my Grandmother.
CG: How did you start gymnastics, at what age and how did you discover this sport?
EP: When I was 6 a coach from a local club visited my school and saw me climbing a tree and said that I must try gymnastics. I found gymnastics was like a big playground and I fell in love with it.
CG:Where do you train (city, club name)? Tell us about your weekly routine, how many hours do you train?
EP: My club is G.A.S Erini Peristeriou It’s my first and only club, I also currently train at the national Olympic centre in Athens.
I normally train 38 hours a week, morning training from 10-12 and the afternoon from 2.30-6.30. Currently I’m training lighter schedule due to a sore back, I hope to resume full training soon.
CG: Do you currently do anything else besides gymnastics? What is your life outside gym?
I work in another club as a coach, I’m at university studying Physical Education and I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.
CG: What is your favourite memory at a gymnastics competition, or your favourite comp you have attended and why?
EP: The 2012 European Championships in Brussels I made the finals on bars. It was an amazing feeling. I enjoyed this competition a lot.
CG:What is your favourite apparatus?
CG: What is the UB skill that you like doing / training the most and why?
EP: The Tkachev and Jaeger.
CG: Do you have a least favourite one or one that was the most difficult to learn (why?)
EP: Yes the Khorkina, I just can’t control the half.
CG: You recently upgraded to a crazy bars element – a Delchev in between the bars which looks a little bit impossible but you still pull it off? Who thought of this upgrade for you; how tall are you, how is this skill even possible for you?
EP: Me and my coach decided to change the routine. I actually found this skill the easiest to learn. I really don’t know how it’s possible but somehow I found it easy to learn. I’m 153cm (5 ft).
CG: What are your plans for 2018? (some competitions we will be able to see you at in the near future, events you are training to participate in?)
EP: I’m training a lighter workload and I hope to compete at Greek Nationals in May, Mediterranean Games (Spain) then hopefully European Championships (Glasgow) and World Championships (Doha).
CG: You have a very interesting and difficult bar routine but you struggle with consistency. Do you think that you can become an event finalist on bars at some point?
EP: Yes, I hope so that is my main goal in every competition
CG:How do you keep motivated?
EP: I don’t give up easily and my motivation comes from wanting to participate in every competition. I also get motivation from my coaches Apostolos Pessinis, Julia Palamara and my physio Ioanna Mantzori.
Fan Question: What was your experience of the European Championships in Bern 2016 ?
EP: I really enjoyed the team competition we had a few difficulties with one team member getting injured in podium training so we had to change some events around. Overall I was proud of how the team performed.
FQ: Also, even though it’s probably a stupid question, how do Greek gymnasts see Vasiliki Millousi? Did she have a big influence on her and other gymnasts during their gymnastics career?
EP:Well Vasiliki is such an inspiration to many including me. The way she manages the elegance and the skills is just unique.
FQ:Do you have any superstitions or pre competion rituals?
EP: I don’t really have any pre competition rituals really other than I go over and over my routine in my head several times and I always call my brother before I compete, no matter where I am in the world.
FQ: What is your goal in gymnastics?
EP: My ultimate goal is to compete at the Olympics.
FQ: What is in your bar routine this year and what is funding/support like in Greece?
EP: I will compete the same bar routine this year as I competed in Montreal. I am self funded and I have a sponsorship from Sigoa leotards. I am very good friends with my physio so we have a special agreement with my treatments.
FQ: Who are your idols in gymnastics?
EP: Beth Tweddle and Viktoria Komova they are my biggest idols and I was always in inspired by their wonderful bar routines. They are the reasons why I decided to work on my bars connections.
Thank you so much for your time Evangelia and all the best with your upcoming competitions.
Junior Evangelia Plyta competing on bars at the 2012 Euros:
Article: Emma Bailey