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Ukrainian Women Aim for Team Final — Not Medal — at Olympics
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Daria Zgoba

Ninth at the 2007 Worlds, the Ukrainian women are merely hoping for a spot in the team final at the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, team member Daria Zgoba said.

Ukraine is returning two members of its fourth-place women's team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens: 2006 world balance beam champion Irina Krasnyanskaya and 2004 European champion Alina Kozich. Other team members are Zgoba, Valentina Golenkova, Anastasia Koval and Marina Proskurina. 2004 Olympian Olga Scherbatykh is the team alternate.

"Certainly, we always wish to show the highest result," Zgoba said in an interview this week. "But it's not always possible to be well prepared in such conditions. Across Ukraine gyms are virtually nonexistant, and there is nothing to prepare future prospective athletes. They train now on such [poor] equipment, that I'm ashamed to even speak about it. Even here at [national training center] Koncha-Zaspa, for example, Sasha Vorobyev is training for the Olympics over the pit because of the lack of standard rings. And we train on equipment which was bought for the Games in Athens. The new equipment hasn't reached us yet — it got stuck somewhere on the border. Therefore, we are going to the Olympic Games with the aim of reaching the team final and the bars final."

Zgoba, the 2007 European champion on uneven bars, is realistic about her chances for an Olympic medal on her best event.

"To win is impossible, but I could make the finals," she said. "But it's necessary to add some difficulty to my routine to win any medal in Beijing. I am working on this now, but I still have to refine it. With my coach I came up with one element in combination. And it would be named after me if I submit it and execute it at the competition."

Krasnyanskaya, the 2006 world champion on beam, also carries medal potential for Ukraine.

The Ukrainian men finished 13th at the 2007 World Championships, one spot out of qualifying a full team to Beijing. Two gymnasts will compete: Valery Goncharov, the 2004 Olympic parallel bars champion, and Alexander Vorobyev, the 2007 European still rings champion. Top vaulter Andrei Isayev is the alternate.

External Link: Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation

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