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Maksyuta Content With 2011, Ambitious for 2012
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Preparing for this weekend’s Voronin Cup in Moscow and the Olympic test event next month in London, Israel's Valeria Maksyuta told IG she wants to build on her success at the world championships in October and recent FIG events at which she won five medals – including three golds.

Maksyuta placed first on vault and balance beam, and third on floor exercise, at the Grand Prix of Ostrava, an FIG Challenger Cup meet held in the Czech Republic last month. She placed first on vault and third on balance beam at the Osijek Challenger Cup in Croatia earlier this month.

“I worked hard all summer and autumn, and this was the result,” she said of her performances in Osijek and Ostrava. “It’s hard to say, but I did not feel big pride or happiness with the medals. It was nice but not more.”

Maksyuta said she was satisfied with her performance at the world championships in Tokyo in October, where she placed 44th all-around in qualifications and was second reserve for the vault final.

“I was pleased with my floor routine but not pleased about the score,” said Maksyuta, who formerly competed for Ukraine. “Also, on vault, I was next after (Czech gymnast) Jana Sikulova, who injured her leg. It was very hard and scary to vault, because a half year earlier, I badly injured my legs. But I made it well.”

Maksyuta said she is focusing on upgrading her routines as early as the Voronin Cup.

“In Moscow I will try to do a new routine on the bars,” Maksyuta said. “That’s why I did not do them in World Cup competitions. And this is not a final routine. We are learning more new elements.”

The Kiev native, who is Jewish, first impressed the Israeli coaches after dominating the 2005 World Maccabiah Games. She received an invitation to join the Israeli national team, and two years later decide to accept after being persuaded by coach Aaron Litvin of the Maccabi Tzafon club.

Maksyuta’s main objective is to qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in London by performing well at the Olympic test event in London in January. The last Israeli female artistic gymnast to compete at the Olympic Games was Revital Sharon in 1988.

“To qualify for the Olympics, I need to finish in the top 24 all-around at the test event,” she told IG. “My coach plans for me to make it into the top 10, so we are working hard for it.”

Read “Maximizing Her Options,” a profile on Maksyuta, in the January/February 2010 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.

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