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Mustafina, Ryazanov Win Russian Cup Titles
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National champions Aliya Mustafina and Yuri Ryazanov won all-around titles at the Russian Cup, held Wednesday in Penza.


Aliya Mustafina (Moscow)

Mustafina, the top gymnast in Tuesday's qualification competition, improved her all-around score Wednesday to 59.434. The 15-year-old Muscovite topped 2008 Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva (57.034) and Anna Dementyeva (55.133).

Ryazanov (89.450) and runner-up Sergei Khorokhordin (89.250) repeated their rankings from Monday's qualification competition but both improved their all-around scores. Emin Garibov, the 2008 Junior European champion on high bar, placed third (85.850).

Valery Starkin, president of the Penza Regional Gymnastics Federation, offered praise for defending champion Afanasyeva, who recently suffered a leg injury, and new champion Mustafina.

"I'm very happy for Ksyusha Afanasyeva," Starkin said. "Despite the injury, she pulled it all together and executed her routines very stably. But that is not even the main thing. The main thing is that she really wants to win, and she understands that hard work is necessary for victories. In her eyes burns the fire of a gymnast.

"And, of course, our future — Aliya Mustafina! Today she was exceptionally good! Difficult combinations, coupled with almost intricate execution. It's regretful that this year she doesn't have the ability to compete among the seniors. But I think we should work on the prospects. These are our future medals."

New women's head coach Alexander Alexandrov is making a positive impact, Starkin said. Alexandrov, the former Soviet head coach, returned to Russia in November after 14 years in the United States.

"You know what I personally think is very important? The fact that the girls are working with Alexander Alexandrov," Starkin said. "First of all, it's immediately apparent that he has pulled the team together. And secondly, I had lost touch with Alexandrov. I was afraid when he returned he wouldn't be the same Sasha I knew for many years. After all, he was coaching gymnasts for the U.S. team. But now since we've been talking, my soul rejoices: It's our Sasha! Cheerful and smiling, with all the same jokes and cracks. I can unmistakably say that with such coaches the women's team has a very good future."

The competition continues Friday with the apparatus finals. Check back with International Gymnast Magazine Online for more results from the Russian Cup.

2009 Russian Cup
Aug. 26, Penza

Women's All-Around Final
1. Aliya Mustafina (Moscow) 59.434
2. Ksenia Afanasyeva (Tula) 57.034
3. Anna Dementyeva (Samara) 55.133
4. Svetlana Klyukina (Severodvinsk) 54.166
5. Ramila Musina (Surgut) 54.067
6. Kristina Goryunova (Veliky Novgorod) 53.533
7. Valeria Sviridova (Novosibirsk) 52.700
8. Kristina Pravdina (Voronezh) 51.300
9. Alexandra Telitsyna (Yoshkar-Ola) 47.000
10. Zhanna Toporova (Obninsk) 45.334

Men's All-Around Final
1. Yuri Ryazanov (Vladimir) 89.450
2. Sergei Khorokhordin (Khimki-Barnaul) 89.250
3. Emin Garibov (Moscow) 85.850
4. Andrei Cherkasov (Leninsk-Kuznecky) 85.050
5. Alexander Dyomin (Chelyabinsk) 84.600
6. Mikhail Bodnar (Moscow) 83.700
7. Dmitry Gogotov (Moscow) 83.000
8. Gennady Savelyev (Moscow) 82.800
9. Alexei Bondarenko (Moscow) 82.300
10. Denis Ablyazin (Penza) 82.100

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

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