Despite being beset by injuries, the Romanian women are optimistic for success at next week's European Championships, head coach Nicolae Forminte said.
Gabriela Dragoi (Romania)
"We go to Milan confident and hope that we will achieve our objectives," Forminte said. "Taking into account the difficult situation Romanian sport is going through, the objective of these Europeans is medals."
Romanian team members Gabriela Dragoi, Sandra Izbasa and Anamaria Tamarjan are all struggling with various injuries, Forminte told newspaper "Gazeta Sporturilor."
"Health problems remain and will continue to be the No. 1 challenge of this generation," Forminte said. "There are injuries that cannot be solved by any rest, or by treatments."
The Romanian gymnasts won the women's team title at the 2008 European Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The 2009 European Championships, April 2-5 in Milan, will be for individual all-around and apparatus.
Dragoi, Izbasa and Tamarjan were members of the bronze medal-winning Romanian women's gymnastics team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Izbasa, the 2008 Olympic champion on floor exercise, is also the defending European champion on the event. She is struggling with injuries to both legs, but plans to compete all four apparatus in Milan.
"She wavers between continuing and retiring," Forminte said of the 18-year-old Izbasa, who is aiming for medals on balance beam and floor exercise.
Forminte said 17-year-old Tamarjan is at 50 to 60 percent of her physical potential, and the 16-year-old Dragoi is at just 30 percent. Dragoi traveled to Milan last November for medical treatment of an injury.
The fourth team member, first-year senior Diana Chelaru, shows promise, Forminte said. She won the 2007 junior national title, and on March 14 finished ninth all-around at the international in Jesolo, Italy.
"She is a gymnast with potential, but with large gaps in her basic training," he said. "We have to have patience with her."