The Russian World Championships team was selected following the conclusion of the 2014 Russian Cup, the Information Telegraph has reported.
Quadruple gold Russian Cup medalist Aliya Mustafina will headline the team, which also includes Maria Kharenkova, Maria Paseka, Ekaterina Kramarenko, Alla Sosnitskaya, and Daria Spiridonova at the moment.
The choices are not surprising, though I don’t think Kramarenko was on many prediction lists prior to the Russian Cup. Where she impressed, Anna Rodionova made mistakes and didn’t show readiness.
Of course, Viktoria Komova was also left out. She competed just bars at the Russian Cup, hitting above 15 only once after hitting her feet on the bar in qualifications and showing form breaks in her team final routine.
Valentina Rodionenko has stated in the past that there would be no one-event athletes this year – those who want to be included on the team must show readiness on more than one event. However, she hasn’t quite left Komova out of her plans for China.
“Her participation [at World Championships] will depend on whether she can get her vault back in the weeks leading up to the competition,” Rodionenko said, again reiterating that “we can not take an athlete with just one event.”
It’s interesting that she said she wants Komova back on vault and not on beam, though technically Komova has a beam set, which she performed at Russian Championships in April. It’s possible she knows Komova’s beam is something she can trust, but with a weak selection of vaulters, I can see why they’d place importance on having a solid vault.
Rodionenko said that Rodionova and Tatiana Nabieva aren’t completely out either, noting that the final team will be announced at the end of the final Round Lake training camp before they leave for Nanning. Ksenia Afanasyeva, who has been out with injury, is also in the running, according to Rodionenko in an interview with R-Sport. She is “training hard,” says Rodionenko, but because she’s experienced, all of her work is spent working on getting her old routines back rather than on adding anything new. Vault and floor are going well for her thus far, but they’re not going to push anything.
Overall, Rodionenko was pleased with how the athletes performed in Penza, adding that they did especially well considering the daily training and competition start times, which were scheduled to take into account the time difference between western Russia and China.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Photo thanks to the Information Telegraph