Valentina Rodionenko talked to R-Sport about the possible format for the junior World championships in artistic gymnastics. The first championships will take place in 2019, probably in Hungary which hosted this year’s European Olympic Youth Festival.
Rodionenko said that she thinks junior Worlds should be individual, as a team competition could force gymnasts to rush their preparation and compete harder skills than they’re ready.
“This competition is undoubtedly important, but I’d want it to be not a team competition but an individual one because relatively young gymnasts will be allowed to compete. I believe the competitors there will be no older than 15 years old, between 13 and 15 years old, as gymnasts turn senior at 16. And there is a reason to be afraid that the preparation will be rushed at this level and then the senior World Championships can lose quite a lot”.
“At 14, many gymnasts are still going through puberty, forming their bodies, it’s very dangerous to give high training loads at this age. When we were discussing this at Worlds in Canada, everyone agreed that this competition should be individual and not team, in order to protect the gymnasts. It’s a very complicated issue”.
However, during Worlds, Andrei Rodionenko reported that the US team lobbied for the team competition at junior Worlds.