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Mustafina Readies for 'Rush' of Russian National Championships
(10 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

After a holiday break, world and Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina told IG she's ready to dive back into competition at the Russian women's national championships, which begin today in Penza.

"Competition is always a rush of Adrenalin," Mustafina said. "I am hoping [that] competing at the nationals will help me to get ready for the European championships."

Aliya Mustafina (Russia) at the 2013 DTB Cup, held in December in Stuttgart

The 2014 Russian Gymnastics Championships begin today at Burtasy Sports Palace with the junior women's qualification and team competition. The men's national championships take place April 10-13.

Mustafina, the 2010 world all-around champion, came back from a torn ACL in 2011 to win four medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including the all-around bronze and the gold on uneven bars. She was the most successful Russian athlete in any sport at the 2012 Olympics.

In 2013, Mustafina won the all-around titles at the European championships and University Games, and picked up three medals at last fall's world championships (gold on balance beam, bronzes in the all-around and on uneven bars). After competing in the DTB Cup team event in December in Stuttgart, Mustafina took a couple of months off to rest.

Raisa Ganina, her coach and choreographer, told IG that they dedicated February just to getting Mustafina back in shape. She referred to this week's competition as a "no-pressure national championships."

"At nationals we will do only what is ready," Ganina said. "In my opinion, this meet is not necessary at all. The girl just got back from a long break."

But the 19-year-old Mustafina — who has earned the nickname "Iron Aliya" for her strong will and tenacity — said there is no doubt she is ready to compete at the Russian championships as part of her preparation for next month's European championships in Sofia.

"I've decided to participate because of my current physical condition," she said. "Getting ready by only training is one thing, but competing gives you a boost."

With the exception of Ksenia Afanasyeva, Mustafina's Olympic teammates are expected to compete in Penza. Superstar Viktoria Komova, who took 2013 off from competition, is slated to make her competitive comeback in Penza.

The senior women's competition begins Thursday, and video will be streamed live on the Russian Gymnastics Federation's official website at

Read an exclusive interview with Raisa Ganina and profile on Aliya Mustafina in an upcoming issue of International Gymnast Magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine or order back issues, click here.

International Gymnast Magazine's coverage of Russian gymnastics includes:
March 2013 - Anastasia Grishina interview
January/February 2013 - Mustafina center poster
September 2012 - Olympic Games special issue
July/August 2012 - Mustafina and Komova on cover photo collage, Olympic Games preview
May 2012 - "Up for the Challenge" (Komova interview)
January/February 2012 - "Poised for Perfection (Afanasyeva cover photo and interview)
December 2011 - World Championships special issue
January/February 2011 - "The Mustafina Mystique" (Mustafina profile)
December 2010 - Mustafina on cover, World Championships special issue
October 2010 - Komova on cover, World Championships preview
July/August 2010 - Komova on cover photo collage
June 2010 - Komova on cover

Comments (1)add comment

Rachel T said:

What happened to Afanasyeva?
Why isn't Ksenia competing?
April 03, 2014
Votes: +1

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