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Russians Ready to Take on Europe in Moscow
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With eight of its 2012 Olympians on the roster, the host Russian team is confident of success at next week's European championships in Moscow. Pictured: Participants at a press conference for the event, held Thursday in Moscow, included Olympians Yelena Zamolodchikova and Alexei Nemov (center) and Viktoria Komova (far right)

With eight of its 2012 Olympians on the roster, the host Russian team is confident of success at next week's European championships in Moscow.

Scheduled for April 17-21 at Moscow's Olympisky Complex, this year's European championship is for senior all-around and apparatus only. The roster includes 162 male gymnasts and 75 female gymnasts from 38 countries. Each nation can enter up to six male and four female gymnasts; two gymnasts per nation may advance to each final.

World and Olympic gold medalist Aliya Mustafina, the most decorated gymnast of the 2012 Olympics in London, will be accompanied by Olympic teammates Ksenia Afanasyeva, Anastasia Grishina and Maria Paseka. All are expected to challenge for medals, team coach Valentina Rodionenko said in a press conference Thursday.

Afanasyeva, Grishina and Mustafina are scheduled to compete all four apparatus in qualification, while Paseka will compete vault and uneven bars only.

Mustafina is the heavy favorite to capture the all-around title in her hometown, but will have to hold off Romanian star Larisa Iordache and her own teammates.

The 21-year-old Afanasyeva, who has upgraded to an Amanar on vault, may surprise in the all-around, Rodionenko said.

"Ksenia now has three very strong events," Rodionenko said, "Floor exercise, where she was a world champion, and vault, where she upgraded to a 2 1/2, now the most difficult in terms of vault, and she is great on beam. Ksenia is a little behind on bars, but this is according to our standard, and compared with other participating gymnasts, her bars routine is not too weak."

Romania will send only two female gymnasts — Iordache and Olympian teammate Diana Bulimar. Two-time Olympic champion Sandra Izbasa had been preparing for the competition but reportedly decided not to compete due to lack of training.

World and Olympic medalist Viktoria Komova — taking a competitive break to rest a back injury — attended the press conference and said she will be present during the European championships to support her teammates.

"I haven't disappeared, I still train at Round Lake," said Komova, the 2012 European champion on uneven bars. "And during the European championships you will definitely see me. Not only on the podium, but in the warm-up room. I will come to work on the equipment along with the whole team, just in competition I have a temporary break. Maybe I'll come back for the University Games in Kazan, but that will depend on being accepted to university. In the summer I'll finish school and I have to apply. If I don't go to the University Games, I will go a little later to a World Cup, this is for sure. Also competing in the world championships in September is definitely not out of the question, of course!"

The Russian men's team includes Olympians Denis Ablyazin, Alexander Balandin, David Belyavsky and Emin Garibov, as well as Olympic alternate Nikita Ignatyev and pommel horse specialist Matvey Petrov. Balandin (still rings) and Garibov (high bar) are defending champions from 2012, while Ablyazin is expected to challenge for titles on floor exercise, still rings and vault.

The Russian men will face much stiffer competition from across the continent. David Belyavsky, Russia's top all-arounder, will face off with rising Ukrainian star Oleg Vernyayev, plus British Olympic medalists Max Whitlock and Dan Purvis.

Individual medal contenders include Olympic champion Krisztian Berki (Hungary), as well as Eleftherios Kosmidis and Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece), Fabian Hambüchen and Marcel Nguyen (Germany), Samir Aït Saïd (France), Dan Keatings (Great Britain), Flavius Koczi (Romania) and Igor Radivilov (Ukraine).

Ukrainian Olympian Nikolai Kuksenkov, who moved to Russia after the Olympics, is still ineligible to compete for Russia, Rodionenko said. He is awaiting his final citizenship documents from the Russian government and approval for his change of nationality with the International Gymnastics Federation.

Russian coach and judge Yuri Korolyov, the two-time world all-around champion (1981 and 1985), said the Russian men are targeting two gold medals, the same haul as in 2012.

"As for the men's team, we should be able to take approximately two gold medals," Korolyov said. "Overall, I think it will be five medals of different colors."

Organizers announced that tickets for the European championships will be available for as little as 100 rubles each (approximately $3), to encourage public support of the event.

"This championship is going to be at a very high level," 12-time Olympic medalist Alexei Nemov said. "There will be really strong opponents coming who will certainly be difficult to deal with, but as far as I know, both of our teams, both male and female, are well prepared, so I'm pretty confident that the guys and the girls will not disappoint their fans."

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2013 European Gymnastics Championships
April 17-21, Moscow

Women's Competitors
Lisa Ecker
Elisa Hämmerle
Jasmin Mader
Katsiaryna Fiadutsik
Anastasia Miklashevich
Ralitsa Mileva
Tijana Tkalčec
Kristýna Pálešová
Jana Šikulová
Mia Furu
Mette Hulgaard
Janneke Lanng
Michelle Lauritsen
Roxana Popa
Maria Paula Vargas
Ida Laisi
Maija Leinonen
Rosanna Ojala
Annika Urvikko
Becky Downie
Charlie Fellows
Ruby Harrold
Gabby Jupp
Cagla Akyol
Lisa Katharina Hill
Sophie Scheder
Myropi Christofilaki
Vasiliki Millousi
Paschalina Mitrakou
Evangelia Plyta
Dorina Boczogo
Luca Diveky
Noemi Makra
Emma Lunn
Nicole Mawhinney
India McPeak
Dominiqua Belanyi
Thelma Hermannsdottir
Tinna Odinsdottir
Norma Dogg Robertsdottir
Ofir Nezer
Giorgia Campana
Carlotta Ferlito
Vanessa Ferrari
Elisa Meneghini
Valerija Grisane
Ana Koniuchovaite
Laura Svilpaite
Chantysha Netteb
Noël van Klaveren
Haldis Sandoy Naerum
Kararzyna Jurkowska
Ekaterina Kislinskaya
Ana Filipa Martins
Diana Bulimar
Larisa Iordache
Ksenia Afanasyeva
Anastasia Grishina
Aliya Mustafina
Maria Paseka
Teja Belak
Saša Golob
Jessica Diacci
Ilaria Käslin
Laura Schulte
Giulia Steingruber
Barbora Mokošová
Jonna Adlerteg
Ida Gustafsson
Yagmur Su Alparslan
Demet Mutlu
Özlem Özkan
Angelina Kysla
Maria Livchikova
Daria Matveyeva
Olena Vasilieva
Men's Competitors
Artur Davtyan
Vahagn Davtyan
Harutyum Merdinyan
Serob Soghomonyan
Artur Tovmasyan
Marco Baldauf
Xheni Dyrmishi
Michael Fussenegger
Lukas Kranzlmüller
Fabian Leimlehner
Matthias Schwab
Ughur Khalilbayli
Ruslan Namazov
Eldar Safarov
Shakir Shikhaliyev
Dennis Goossens
Daan Kenis
Kristof Schroe
Donna-Donny Truyens
Jimmy Verbaeys
Siemon Volkaert
Dmitry Barkalov
Pavel Bulavsky
Artyom Bykov
Andrei Likhovitsky
Vasily Mikhalitsyn
Alexander Tsarevich
Alexander Batinkov
Hristos Marinov
Dragomir Peyev
Velislav Valchev
Andrej Korosteljev
Leonardo Kusan
Marijo Možnik
Robert Seligman
Filip Ude
Kristijan Vugrinski
Irodotos Georgallas
Michalis Krasias
Martin Konecny
Jindrich Pansky
Daniel Radovesnicky
Ossur Eiriksfoss
Marcus Frandsen
João Fuglsig
Kasper Rydberg
Mikkel Sondergaard
Joachim Winther
Fabian Gonzalez
Ruben Lopez
Juho Kanerva
Petrus Laulumaa
Heikki Saarenketo
Tomi Tuuha
Markku Vahtila
Sakari Vekki
Samir Aït Saïd
Guillaume Augugliaro
Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues
Cyril Tommasone
Arnaud Willig
Jim Zona
Reiss Beckford
Daniel Keatings
Sam Oldham
Daniel Purvis
Theo Seager
Max Whitlock
Andreas Bretschneider
Matthias Fahrig
Fabian Hambüchen
Christopher Jursch
Marcel Nguyen
Andreas Toba
Konstantinos Konstantinidis
Eleftherios Kosmidis
Dimitros Markousis
Eleftherios Petrounias
Vasileios Tsolakidis
Krisztian Berki
Vid Hidvegi
Attila Racz
Bence Talas
Luke Carson
Christopher O'Connor
Anthony O'Donnell
Andrew Smith
Olafur Gunnarsson
Sigurdur Sigurdsson
Andrei Medvedev
Alexander Shatilov
Alberto Busnari
Andrea Cingolani
Ludovico Edalli
Matteo Morandi
Paolo Principi
Lorenzo Ticchi
Vitalijs Kardasovs
Dmitrijs Trefilovs
Vladislav Esaulov
Arvydas Gerve
Rokas Guscinas
Sascha Palgen
Kevin Crovetto
Michel Bletterman
Boudewijn de Vries
Bart Deurloo
Anthony van Assche
Yuri van Gelder
Jeffrey Wammes
Marcus Conradi
Lars-Jorgen Fjeld
Pietro Giachino
Odin Kalvo
Lars Planke
Stian Skjerahaug
Adam Kierzkowski
Roman Kulesza
Marek Lyszczarz
Dariusz Pisarek
Adam Rzepa
Luis Araujo
Vasco Barata
Francisco Fragoso
Ricardo Martins
Marius Berbecar
Ovidiu Buidoso
Vlad Cotuna
Flavius Koczi
Andrei V. Muntean
Andrei Ursache
Denis Ablyazin
Alexander Balandin
David Belyavsky
Emin Garibov
Nikita Ignatyev
Matvey Petrov
Sašo Bertoncelj
Alen Dimic
Rok Klavora
Mitja Petkovšek
Pascal Bucher
Claudio Capelli
Lucas Fischer
Marco Walter
Slavomir Michnak
Samuel Piasecky
Carl Green
Pontus Kallanvaara
Oskar Kirmes
Semih Akdogan
Muhammed Akkavak
Ferhat Arican
Abdulkadir Bas
Baris Pek
Ümit Şamiloğlu
Petro Pakhnyuk
Igor Radivilov
Oleg Stepko
Oleg Vernyayev
Alexander Vorobyov
Mykyta Yermak
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