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Olympic Berth Looms for Austria's Leimlehner
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Recently named Austria's male Gymnast of the Year for the fifth time, Fabian Leimlehner told IG he is confident of success at next week's Olympic test event in London that will qualify gymnasts for this summer's Olympic Games in London.

"I think if I hit all six routines and do a good all-around competition, my dream will come true," said Leimlehner, who traveled to London on Monday.

2011 was a banner year for the 24-year-old Leimlehner, who was born in Liestal, Switzerland. At last spring's European championships in Berlin, he was the first Austrian senior male gymnast to advance to the Europeans all-around final since 2000. He won the silver medal on high bar at FIG Challenger Cup competitions in Cottbus, Germany, and Maribor, Slovenia. He won the Austrian national all-around title as well as the Gymnast of the Year designation, both of which he also earned in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Fabian Leimlehner (Austria)

Recognition as his country's male Gymnast of the Year was more meaningful the fifth time around, Leimlehner said.

"There are not so many differences," he said. "I think I had a higher difference from second place, so the result was clearer. This makes me happy."

Leimlehner said he has made progress since last fall's world championships in Tokyo, from which he advanced to the Olympic test event based on his 97th-place all-around finish in qualifications, where he scored 80.298 points. Veteran teammate Marco Baldauf was close behind in 99th place with 80.231 points.

"I needed to stabilize my sets, and I also did some changes to make them more efficient but still having a good program to perform," said Leimlehner, who trains in Innsbruck under former Czech national team coach Petr Koudela.

Leimlehner said he has been able to stay focused between worlds and the test event because his Olympic dream is within reach. The week prior to Christmas, he trained with the Brazilian team in Arques, France.

"This was actually not that hard because, if there is a good chance for the qualification for the Olympic Games, this motivates me a lot since it s the one big goal I've always wanted to reach," he said. "The only hard thing was that I need to practice alone and the other (Austrian) gymnasts had holidays over Christmas. But my coach and I did a very good job over these holidays and we had good practices."

Although Leimlehner and female teammate Barbara Gasser will be Austria's only competitors at the test event, he said he plans to concentrate on his routines and minimize the expectations that come from his 2011 accolades.

"Of course this is pressure for me, but for the competition I need to put this out of my mind," he told IG. "I don't want to think about other stuff. I will just focus on my competition, so this will be the best way for me to succeed in London."

External Link: Austrian Gymnastics Federation

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