Although world all-around champion Aliya Mustafina (Russia) outscored the field by 2.85 points in Wednesday's qualifications at the European championships in Berlin, she said victory in Friday's all-around final is far from a certainty.
"It's really not true that I'm guaranteed of winning," said Mustafina, whose 59.75 total put her ahead of teammate Anna Dementyeva (56.90) and Romania's Diana Chelaru (56.35). "Whenever you go to a competition, you have competitors. If you make a mistake, you'll be out of the medals."
World all-around champion Aliya Mustafina (Russia) performs on floor exercise in Wednesday's qualifications at the European championships in Berlin, where she topped the field by nearly 3 full points.
Mustafina said she was pleased with all four of her performances on Wednesday, although she said she intentionally performed conservatively on vault.
Her first vault is usually an Amanar (2-1/2 twisting Yuchenko), but on Wednesday she performed only a double-twisting Yurchenko as her first vault. Her second vault was a round-off, half-on, layout front-full.
Mustafina said she and coach Alexander Alexandrov agreed on her conservative first vault in order to help her qualify her for Saturday's apparatus final on vault, which she did.
"My coach and I decided I wouldn't be doing my full program," said Mustafina, who qualified first on uneven bars and balance beam, second on floor exercise and third on vault. "The goal was to make finals."
Five-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina (Germany) qualified fifth for the vault final, and is expected to recover from a minor low back injury she suffered on balance beam later in Wednesday's qualifications.
German team media liaison Torsten Hartmann told IG that Chusovitina hurt her back upon mounting the balance beam with a piked front salto.
Chusovitina said she consequently lost her breath and wanted to stop her routine, according to Hartmann. She continued, and fell later in the performance. Afterwards, Chusovitina received therapy for her back injury. Hartmann said she intends to be ready for Saturday's vault final.
Competition in Berlin continues Thursday with the men's qualifications. On Friday, the women's and men's all-around finals will take place. (Qualifications scores will not be carried over into the finals.)
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