Valentina Rodionenko has announced the Russian WAG team for the upcoming European Championships: Angelina Melnikova, Angelina Simakova, Anastasia Iliankova, and Maria Paseka who’s already vaulting an Amanar only a year after her back surgery. The team makes sense for an individual competition: two best all-arounders at the moment and two event medal threats. However, it also meant that Mustafina who took third place in the all-around and had mistakes on bars and beam at the Russian nationals was left off the team.
Since it’s Russia and many things are decided at the last verification plus everyone is always getting injured, this roster might change several more times.
All four gymnasts on the roster have additional competitions leading up to Euros: Paseka and Iliankova are going to Baku and Doha in an attempt to earn an individual Olympic spot. Melnikova and Simakova are set to compete at the DTB Pokal team challenge while Simakova is also listed on the roster for the Tokyo World Cup. Hopefully, if she indeed is chosen for Euros, someone will replace her in Tokyo. Otherwise, she would have to fly to the podium training in Szczecin right from Tokyo, battling jetlag.
Mustafina is supposed to compete in the Stuttgart and Birmingham World Cups in the next two weeks. She also plans doing a DTY again at those competitions. At the Russian nationals she was only half a point behind Simakova after two days of competition, so a good performance at these Cups could potentially land her a spot at Euros.
However, Rodionenko doesn’t seem to think that Mustafina is ready. In addition to commenting on the gymnast’s weight earlier, she said that Mustafina will be preparing for Worlds instead of Euros:
“Aliya is not yet ready to compete at the European Championships. She’s specifically preparing for the World Championships. Last season, she also missed the European Championships but was able to show herself at the main competition of the year in Qatar”.
Rodionenko also explained the absence of Daria Spiridonova at the Russian Championships, saying that Spiridonova broke her foot and is still recovering from that injury.
Photo: Elena Mikhaylova, Russian Artistic Gymnastics Federation
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