Maria Paseka and Artur Dalaloyan were guests on Match TV shortly before New Year. They talked about how the 2017 year went for them and about their plans for 2018, with Paseka giving some updates on her recovery.
Q: How’s your health?
Maria Paseka: It’s better now, I recently came back from Germany where I had a surgery.
Q: When should we expect you back [in gymnastics]?
MP: In 9 months.
Q: So, in 9 months you go back to the gym or you can start training earlier?
MP: In two months I’ll go back to Germany, the doctors will see me and will say what to do. I’ll go back to Moscow and there’s this new center, I don’t yet know much about it, but I will be recovering in this center slowly. And in about half a year I’ll be able to start some abs and back exercises.
Q: What are you planning to do now besides the rehabilitation?
MP: I was told to live like a normal person for now [laughs].
Q: Will you be able to?
MP: Well, it’s actually really hard, very hard.
MP: Well, I don’t know, you get used to getting up and going to the gym every day, you’re training, you’re tired… And now I have so much energy, I don’t know what to do with it.
Q: But you used to work with kids, helped training them, does this not interest you anymore?
MP: It interests me, but it’s hard because you’re always sitting, you’re sitting in the gym, doing nothing but training the kids. It’s not exactly for me, it’s even boring a bit sometimes.
Q: Artur, this was a big year for you, gold and silver at the European championships. Are you happy with how you did?
Artur Dalaloyan: The year was prolific enough, I got a lot of experience, I achieved some of my goals, but not all of them, of course. I’m talking about the World Championships here, I didn’t manage to do everything. But it makes me think, make some mistakes and go forward. It’s going to be only better in the future, I think.
Q: Were the Worlds at completely different level? What weren’t you able to do?
AD: Well, let’s start with the fact that I was in an unusual situation for me at Worlds because I was competing on only two apparatuses. I’m generally an all-arounder, that’s how I present myself.
Q: And what led to this?
AD: Well, that’s how the trials went. I didn’t get into a good enough shape for the Russian Cup and didn’t show myself as an all-arounder. But these two apparatuses with which I went to Worlds went great for me [at the Russian Cup]. And then I missed it a bit, it happens. Regarding the Euros, I can say that I saw myself from a new angle. I didn’t even expect such success from myself and I’m really happy. This was my first senior European Championships and the first medals right away. So, everything’s great.
Q: Masha could’ve ended up missing the last Worlds but went and won, on one hand, and got injured on the other hand.
MP: Well, my injury’s old. I got it about 8 years ago, I think. It’s just that I promised myself to go there and win because it’s unacceptable for the defending World champion to go and not to become the World champion again. Because when I went to Euros – the defending champion came and lost – I was very ashamed, I even wanted to run away from the arena fast so that no one would see me. At Worlds, though, I made a mistake on the first vault, I landed too low. But my Amanar went really well, I liked it.
Q: You sort of replaced Aliya Mustafina as the team captain, you helped the girls. Was it hard?
MP: Well, it was a bit hard for me. Aliya is very strong as the team captain, she knows how to prepare herself while at the same time preparing the other girls. I can’t do that yet but I got a bit better at it at Worlds.
Q: Is there a lot of competition on the men’s team?
AD: Yes, the competition is really strong. All the guys are strong, everyone’s working, everyone wants to make the teams. Many of those who used to be event specialists decided to do all-around in order to make the team because the event specialists can only qualify and compete for themselves.
Q: Are there any complaints among the teammates like: “what is it, only one event?’
MP: Well, sometimes, when something isn’t going well for the girls in the gym, they’re nervous, of course, and I come to them and say: “Don’t cry, get yourself together” they respond: “It’s easier for you because you only train one event”. But really it isn’t easier. Because can you imagine, you come to the gym every day and do the same thing over and over. If it’s four apparatuses, you can change some things, do something differently. But here you come and do the same all the time – vault-trampoline-vault-trampoline. And it’s really hard to do the same day in day out.
Q: But you have more time to prepare.
MP: Yes, that’s a big advantage.
AD: I can actually say the same, that it’s not easy because I tried this at Worlds for the first time. I’ve always been an all-arounder and the all-around work is more interesting because you have many apparatuses. If something’s hard [today], you can replace it with something else. And when you train one or two apparatuses, it’s hard mentally because it’s just harder to repeat the same thing meticulously over and over. I’ve always thought and said that it’s very easy but it’s not easy at all.
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