Sadly the line up for the European Championships to be held in Moscow this year is looking a little thin on the ground. According to various reports, several key gymnasts will not be in attendance.
The first and biggest withdrawal announcement came out last week when it was reported that Russian star Viktoriya Komova has suffered a persistent back injury. The most recent report stated that it was a mere strain, but that Komova was not expected to compete at Euros and instead to focus on getting better and attacking Worlds later this year.
According to the wonderful Gympower, the Dutch stars won’t be representing either, with Celine van Gerner, Epke Zonderland and Lisa Top all deciding not to compete. Their absence is attributed to the fact that Top has an elbow injury and the other two are focused on preparing for Worlds.
Additionally, the Germans have reported that star performers like Elisabeth Seitz, Nadine Jarosch, Anja Rheinbay and Pia Tolle will not be competing either, due to the competition falling in a period of intense exam study. Head coach Ulla Koch told the DTB site that the focus is on the longer road toward the 2016 Games. It is not confirmed if Oksana Chusovitina will compete, but Janine Berger, Germany’s next big vault star is in serious training for the meet, as well as Lisa Hill. Berger is a serious contender for a vault medal- if not the gold. The other possibilities include new young stars Cagla Akyol and Sophie Scheder.
The post-Olympic European Championships, which features only individual and apparatus competitions is often a quiet one, but this year might see a particularly patchy attendance given the host of possible post-Olympic retirements, the absence of those nursing post-Olympic injuries (and new ones), and those who are unable to compete for various reasons.
The good news, of course, is that the Russians, despite Komova’s injury will surely try and field as strong a squad as possible for their home Championships. Mustafina, who delighted everyone with her unexpected successes in London will surely be there, if she is in good health. We can also expect to see Larisa Iordache, whose performance at the London Games suffered due to injury. She, like Mustafina, will be aiming for all around gold. Veterans such as Sandra Izbasa, Vanessa Ferrari and Oksana Chusovitina all appear to still be training, despite murmurs that they would be doing otherwise this year. The British are sure to field some good gymnasts, giving Rebecca Tunney a good chance to shine, as well as rookie Gabby Jupp, who may have a chance.
It still stands to be a great meet, however depleted the ranks going in. And let’s not forget, despite the disappointing absences, it may provide us with an opportunity to see some of the bright new hopes for this quad in action early.
All is not lost!
Article: Brigid McCarthy
Photo: Elisabeth Seitz from Spox
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