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Germany's Hambüchen Eager for World Return
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Sidelined at the recent European championships, German star Fabian Hambüchen told IG he is eager to return to full strength and compete at this year's world championships.

"Worlds last year was so much fun," he said. "I miss it but I will be back for sure!"

Hambüchen, who suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in January, watched from the stands as teammates Philipp Boy and Marcel Nguyen won gold medals at the European championships, held April 6-10 in Berlin.

Fabian Hambüchen (Germany) on parallel bars at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam

Boy captured the all-around gold, succeeding Hambüchen as continental champion. Nguyen, who missed the 2010 Worlds after breaking his leg, won the gold on parallel bars.

"Europeans were great," Hambüchen said. "It was such a big success for German gymnastics. I mean, the boys did a good job and I'm really happy that the all-around title stayed in Germany. But Marcel also did an unbelievable job, especially after his injury from last year. Floor and vault were still tough for him but he's back and I'm really proud of him. He's a good guy."

The 23-year-old Hambüchen said he was thrilled with the successful performance of the German women in Berlin. Elisabeth Seitz won the all-around silver, Oksana Chusovitina won the silver on vault and Kim Bui won the bronze on uneven bars.

"The women did great too," Hambüchen said. "That's more important for German gymnastics right now, I guess, because they never had such a success. I'm looking forward to getting the men's and women's teams to the Olympics again. That would be amazing!"

Hambüchen tore his left Achilles' tendon while tumbling on Jan. 16 and underwent surgery two days later. He has been back in the gym for six weeks, and said he is training everything but floor exercise, vault and dismounts.

"It feels great to be back in the gym and having fun on four events," he said. "But it's also tough to get back into shape after two months of no gymnastics. I did a lot of strength [training], so that I gained more weight caused by more muscles, and now I'm trying to get back my flexibility and a good weight. That's not easy, but it will be OK pretty soon."

Hambüchen has not been full strength on floor exercise or vault for the past 18 months. He scratched the 2009 Worlds in London after spraining his foot on floor exercise during podium training. Following that he began having pain in his Achilles, which limited him to four events at the 2010 Worlds.

"I guess I will start tumbling in August or September," he said. "We cannot tell a date where it's possible to tumble again, but I hope as soon as possible!"

As impressed as he was with his teammates' performances in Berlin, Hambüchen said he was inspired by some of their rivals.

"All in all, Europeans was really good for us, but also the other guys did a great job," he said. "For example (Dutchman) Epke Zonderland almost exploded on high bar with his D-score of 7.7. That's huge and he still can get higher difficulty. It was nice watching him on high bar but I want to be back to compete with him together in the final."

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