|Aliya Mustafina and her teammates are ready to challenge for world titles this month in Rotterdam, Russian head coach Alexander Alexandrov said Monday.
Aliya Mustafina and her teammates are ready to challenge for world titles this month in Rotterdam, Russian head coach Alexander Alexandrov said Monday.
The Russian team held four mock competitions as final preparation for the world championships, which begin Oct. 16 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
"Following the training, I can say that the team is ready to perform and compete for medals in the team and all-around finals," he said in a statement on the Russian Gymnastics Federation's website.
The Russian women have compiled their strongest team since the 2000 Olympics, and this year regained the European team title from Romania. On their roster for Rotterdam is two-time Russian Cup champion Aliya Mustafina, 2008 Olympians Ksenia Afanasyeva and Ksenia Semyonova, 2008 Junior European champion Tatiana Nabiyeva, 2010 European vault champion Yekaterina Kurbatova and world championships finalist Anna Myzdrikova. First-year senior Anna Dementyeva is currently the team alternate.
"All the girls are in good shape," said Alexandrov, who returned to Russia in 2008 after more than a decade coaching in Texas. "Today I would pick Aliya Mustafina [as the all-around favorite]. She has the highest combined difficulty score, with more than 25 points."
Alexandrov noted that both Mustafina and Nabiyeva perform 2 1/2-twisting Yurchenko vaults, rated at 6.5 Difficulty, and that Nabiyeva has her own combination on bars.
"Tatiana Nabiyeva increases her skill mastery every day," he said. "In her routine is a direct connection of a layout toe-on Tkatchev and Pak salto. This combination is historic and unique."
Alexandrov has already experienced success in Rotterdam. In 1987, his gymnast Dmitry Bilozerchev captured his second world all-around title at the Ahoy Arena, site of this year's world championships as well.
External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation