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Hambüchen, Uchimura Headline Cottbus Lineup
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German star Fabian Hambüchen and Olympic all-around silver medalist Kohei Uchimura headline the 33rd "Tournament of Masters" in Cottbus, Germany, which begins Friday.

Fabian Hambüchen (Germany)

The traditional "Turnier der Meister" is the second World Cup meet this year after the Gymnix event in Montreal. Several countries are regrouping after the Olympic Games in Beijing last year, but Cottbus stilll has managed to draw an exciting field of 111 gymnasts. Many are Cottbus veterans who appreciate the atmosphere around this competition and enjoy returning every year.

For many of the competitors, Cottbus also serves as a final test for the European Championships in Milan, Italy, April 2-5.

Switzerland is sending to Cottbus its entire women's squad for Europeans including Ariella Käslin, who should have a good chance to medal on vault. Other countries decided to send parts of their teams that will travel to Milan, such as the Netherlands, which will be present with Lieke Wevers and Wyomi Masela.

Plagued by injury and illness, the host nation can only send Anja Brinker and Kim Bui. Oksana Chusovitina is recovering from surgeries on her Achilles' tendon, shoulder and back; Marie-Sophie Hindermann is recovering from surgery on her Achilles' tendon and Joeline Möbius suffered a broken toe and is coming back from back problems. Jenny Brunner is suffering from Pfeiffer's disease.

Outside of the European competitors, the women's side is highlighted by Chinese Sui Lu and Hu Yuhong and Brazilians Bruna Leal and Ethiene Franco.

Noticeably absent from the roster are Cottbus regulars Russia, which just concluded its national championships, and Ukraine, which is unable to send gymnasts because of financial woes. European powerhouse Romania is also not attending this year's edition.

With 80 competitors, the men's field is much bigger and even more interesting. Led by Hambüchen, Germany is able to have its best gymnasts competing in Cottbus. Only Philipp Boy had to cancel after hurting his finger while training on parallel bars.

Some other noticeable names on the roster include Japan's Uchimura and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Hisashi Mizutori. Brazil's Diego Hypolito is eager to fight for medals again after an unlucky 2008. Niki Böschenstein, who has turned out to be a real entertainer on the competition floor, should shine for neighbor Switzerland.

More great specialists warming up for Europeans include Israel's Alexander Shatilov, the Netherlands' Yuri van Gelder, Jeffrey Wammes and Epke Zonderland; France's Yann Cucherat and Danny Pinheiro Rodrigues; Greeks Vlasios Maras and Dimothenis Tambakos; and Slovenians Aljaz Pegan and Mitja Petkovsek, all of whome are sure to fight for medals on their notable events.

Gymnastics fans certainly can look forward to an exciting weekend of competition in Germany. IG Online will be on hand to report from Cottbus.

External Link: 2009 Tournament of Masters

2009 Cottbus Tournament of Masters Roster

Marco Baldauf
Fabian Leimlehner
Jonas Toeback
Donna-Donny Truyens
Koen Van Damme
Barens Verbeke
Diego Hypolito
Mosiah Rodrigues
Arthur Zanetti
Marko Brez
Tomislav Markovic
Mario Moznik
Irodotos Georgallas
George Georgiou
Giannos Parpas
George Spanos
Eetu Lathi
Markku Leinonen
Kalle Maalta
Timo Niemela
Olli Torkkel
Tomi Tuuha
Samir Ait Said
Benoit Caranobe
Yann Cucherat
Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues
Hamilton Sabot
Cyril Tommasone
Matthias Fahrig
Fabian Hambüchen
Robert Juckel
Marcel Nguyen
Thomas Taranu
Robert Weber
Eleftherios Kosmidis
Christos Lympanovos
Vlasios Maras
Dimitrios Markousis
Dimosthenis Tambakos
Vasileios Tsolakidis
Robert Gal
Zoltan Kallai
Istvan Szalontai
Felix Aronorich
Eduard Gholub
Alexander Shatilov
Hisashi Mizutori
Shun Nishimura
Kazuhito Tanaka
Kohei Uchimura
Anthony Van Assche
Yuri Van Gelder
Carlo Van Minde
Jeffrey Wammes
Epke Zonderland
Herre Zonderland
Marcus Conradi
Christian Eggesbo
Espen Jansen
Adam Klerzkowski
Roman Kulesza
Marck Lyszczarz
Emmanuel Gomez
Angel Ramos
Sergio Ramos
Luis Rivera
Saso Bertoncelj
Ziga Britovsek
Alen Dimic
Rok Klavora
Aljaz Pegan
Mitja Petkovsek
Nicolas Böschenstein
Claudio Capelli
Roman Gisi
Roland Häuptli
Alexander Benko
Samuel Piasecky
Umit Samiloglu
Ruslan Irgashev
Lisa Ecker
Denise Karahodzic
Andrea Rührlinger
Aagje Vanwalleghem
Ethiene Franco
Bruna Leal
Hu Yuhong
Sui Lu
Anja Brinker
Kim Bui
Vasiliki Millousi
Paschalina Mitrakou
Idiko Farkas
Laura Gombas
Wyomi Masela
Lieke Wevers
Sandra Ostad
Karoline Sondov
Monika Frandofert
Joanna Litewka
Marta Pihan
Sidney Sanabria
Sasa Golob
Adela Sajn
Ariella Käslin
Linda Stämpfli
Lucia Tacchelli
Yasmin Zimmermann
Ivana Kovacova
Emrina Abduvalieva
Luiza Galiulina
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