It’s Official – Aliya Mustafina Will Miss Worlds

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The Aliya Mustafina rumor mill over the past month has been strong enough to power all of Russia for centuries. Is she at Round Lake? How does she have the time to post on Instagram all day if she’s training? Did she, God forbid, retire?

In speaking to the press a couple of weeks ago, Russian head coach Valentina Rodionenko said Mustafina would miss the Russian Cup due to back pain and alluded to the possibility of her missing worlds, but said she would still be included in their plans if she was feeling better in time. Then, following the all-around final at the Russian Cup yesterday, Andrei Rodionenko actually hinted at Mustafina being out when he mentioned that she was one of their only hopes for an all-around medal this year, and that the younger gymnasts wouldn’t be able to step up in her absence.

Today, we can finally confirm that she will not participate 2015 world championships thanks to a Gazeta interview with Valentina.

“We are letting Aliya rest this year,” Valentina told the press, mentioning that between fatigue, a knee injury, and back pain, she’s simply not in shape to physically meet the demands of competing in a major international event. Her hope is that by taking this year off, she can focus on getting back to one hundred percent going into the Olympic Games.

“There is no point in taking her to worlds if she’s not as ready as she should be.”

Mustafina also spoke to the press, telling TASS that her main reason for missing worlds is her back pain.

“It’s not a serious injury, but it has been bothering me for a long time,” she said. “When I don’t practice, it feels better, but when I get back to training the pain comes back.”

As for the Olympics next year, she stated that she doesn’t want to talk about it. “I can’t predict the future. It is how it is now, but everything can change tomorrow.”

Without Mustafina, Russia risks not making the team podium this year, especially with China looking strong and Romania adding Catalina Ponor to their arsenal. It’s not that Russia doesn’t have the talent – they’re actually pretty deep – but Mustafina has had a huge leadership presence for the team ever since she debuted as a senior in 2010. Her younger teammates have come to look up to her, and she was the glue holding everything together at last year’s worlds despite being sick, looking her best performing all four events in qualifications and team finals, and only making mistakes when individual medals were at stake.

The last time the Olympic champion missed worlds was in 2011, as she dealt with ACL recovery after falling on her Amanar earlier that year. The team performed well without her, but fell over four points behind the United States, sorely missing her consistency and scores on all four events.

But the break will likely be a good one for her. She knows her body well, and we expect her to come back happy, healthy, and pain-free in 2016. In the meantime, we wish her the best of luck and will miss her energy in Glasgow this October.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

7 thoughts on “It’s Official – Aliya Mustafina Will Miss Worlds

  1. Aliya has represented Russia in almost every major competition since the Olympics. She competes when she’s tired, sick, burnt-out, etc. I am glad she has a break

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  2. I can always count on the gymternet for up to date important gymnastics news! I will miss Mustafina at worlds but I’m hoping to see her fierceness at the Olympics! I love her! Except her crossed legs during twisting, I don’t like that but I love her! LOL Thanks for another great article!

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  3. This shakes things up – not only the roster of the RUS team, but their chance at a medal in team finals. Think it will be fight between China and RUS for silver and bronze. Romania is getting stronger, but I don’t think they’re quite there just yet since Iordache and Ponor are still on their way back. It also means that Biles is all but assured a third AA title unless she has multiple falls on her face.

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    • Actually Simone has to be careful in AA this year as her competitor is no longer just Ross or Larisa but likely another US gymnast stronger than both Ross and Larisa. Having said that she probably would still win by several points due to her increased SV and execution. But her closest competitor will actually give better competition this year….

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  4. Pingback: The Weekend Competition Roundup | The Gymternet

  5. Pingback: Dmitrieva to Replace Mustafina as Worlds Alternate | The Gymternet

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