Newly crowned Swiss men's all-around champion Pablo Brägger is preparing to make an international name for himself at next month's world championships in Tokyo.
At the Swiss championships held earlier this month in Bellinzona, the 18-year-old Brägger was the youngest gymnast among the top 12 all-around finishers – and the most successful. Brägger, the 2010 Swiss junior titlist, defeated several veterans, including 2009 champion Niki Böschenstein and 2010 champion Claudio Capelli, to take his first Swiss senior title.
Born Nov. 27, 1992, in Kirchberg, Brägger trains at STV Oberbüren under head coach
Bernhard Fluck, and assistant coaches Frédéric Forrier and Laurent Tricoire. In 2010, he won the all-around bronze at the Junior Europeans in Birmingham and was a member of 15th-place Swiss squad at the worlds in Rotterdam.
Brägger now hopes to help the Swiss earn a team berth to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The top eight teams in Tokyo will qualify for London, and four additional teams will qualify for the Games based on their performance at an Olympic test event in January.
IG recently spoke with the ambitious Brägger, who commented on his victory at home and his aspirations for Tokyo and beyond.
IG: Pablo, congratulations on winning the Swiss all-around title. Going into the competition, how realistic was winning to you?
Brägger at the 2010 Junior Europeans
PB: Thank you very much. In fact I didn't go to the competition to win. My goal was to do a good competition without mistakes and qualify for the worlds team. But sure, there was a little hope in me to earn a podium place with a good competition.
IG: Reflecting on the competition, what could have have done better? And on which apparatuses were you most pleased, and why?
PB: I did a very good competition for me, without falls. But there were some mistakes; for example, on floor, where the landing in the last line wasn't good. And on the other events there are some little things I could have done better. I was most pleased with p-bars because I did a good exercise and it worked better than in training.
IG: How do you feel as a "youngster" performing better than older guys such as Claudio Capelli and Niki Böschenstein?
PB: I feel like before, because I know that the others made some bad mistakes. I know that normally they can beat me. But it feels great just to win! And to show everybody that the young gymnasts are behind them, pushing and training hard to beat them.
IG: What are your expectations and goals for Tokyo, as an individual and for your team?
PB: My goal for Tokyo is to do a great competition and to support the team the best that I can. My goal for the team is to qualify for the Olympic test event in January and to qualify there for the Olympic Games.
I hope that worlds will be an event to benefit from the impressions of the other teams, and to find even more motivation to train harder and more precisely.
External Links: Pablo Brägger Official Site
International Gymnast Magazine Related Features:
"No Turning Back" - Capelli feature (June 2011)
"Swiss Star" - Böschenstein feature (January/February 2010)
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