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Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 02 April 2016 14:24    PDF Print
Kuksenkov Scratches Russian Nationals After Positive Doping Test for Meldonium
(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

New national champion Nikolai Kuksenkov has withdrawn from the Russian men's championships in Penza after it was revealed he tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.

New national champion Nikolai Kuksenkov has withdrawn from the Russian men's championships in Penza after it was revealed he tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.

Kuksenkov won the team title with the Volga District on Wednesday at the Russian championships in Penza, and captured the all-around title Friday. He will not compete in this weekend's apparatus finals, officials announced.

The medication meldonium, sold under the brand name Mildronate, is used to treat angina, diabetes, arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, along with a host of other medical conditions. It was only placed on the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on January 1, 2016, under concerns that it was being used to bolster sports performance. Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova was recently suspended after testing positive for meldonium. Sharapova says she has long taken the medication for medical purposes and was unaware it had been placed on the banned list.

According to Russian coach and spokeswoman Valentina Rodionenko, Kuksenkov's test was conducted two weeks ago but the results were only just revealed.

"Yes, in Nicholas Kuksenkov's doping test they found meldonium, but the bare minimum concentration," Rodionenko said. "This sample was taken on March 15, but we have just learned the result recently. I can say that on the Russian national team in gymnastics we stopped using the drug even in August 2015! Then the representatives of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency consulted with our doctors, and then withdrew all the supplies of Mildronate from our first-aid kits. Which, I must say, were quite officially issued. I guarantee that our athletes did not take this drug since August. But still no one knows what the withdrawal period is of meldonium from the body. It's kind of a wild, weird situation that will need to be solved through joint efforts."

More than 120 athletes already have tested positive for meldonium since it went on the banned list on January 1. Sharapova is the most famous of those who have tested positive, and she stated she was unaware it was banned. However, many others who tested positive insisted they had not taken the drug since it was banned. Latvian corporation Grindeks, manufacturer of meldonium, told Reuters that "its terminal elimination from the body may last for several months" depending on factors such as dose, duration of treatment, and sensitivity of testing methods.

It remains to be seen whether this will impact Kuksenkov's chances of competing at the Olympics in Brazil this summer. He represented his native Ukraine at the 2012 Olympics in London, where the team finished a controversial fourth after a last-minute protest by Japan pushed Ukraine off the podium.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 30 March 2016 11:28    PDF Print
New Injury Dashes Adlerteg's Dreams of Rio Olympics
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Swedish star Jonna Adlerteg sustained a torn meniscus at the recent Doha World Cup, crushing her dreams of competing in her second Olympic Games this summer.

2012 Swedish Olympian Jonna Adlerteg sustained a torn meniscus at the recent Doha World Cup, crushing her dreams of competing in her second Olympic Games this summer.

Adlterteg with her coach Sebastian Melander at the 2015 Europeans in Montpellier, after she tore her left ACL on floor exercise

Adlerteg sustained the injury on her dismount on uneven bars in Doha. She was just returning from the torn ACL that she suffered on floor exercise at the 2015 European Championships in Montpellier.

"It's really hard. Olympics in Rio has been my goal since the 2012 Olympics," she told the SVT Sport network. "I feel that I've raised my level since then. I feel I could perform well and was eying a final."

Adlerteg made history for Sweden at the 2013 European Championships in Moscow, where she won the silver medal on uneven bars, Sweden's first European championship medal in 50 years. She was also a bronze medalist on uneven bars at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

In Doha, Adlerteg debuted a new uneven bars routine worth 6.6 Difficulty, including a Shaposhnikova to Bhardwaj combination (click here to watch). She hit her routine in both qualification and finals, winning the gold medal. In finals, she stuck her dismount, but looked pained as she walked off the podium, and did not attend the awards ceremony, and instead went straight for the hospital.

"I did a good landing," she explained. "It was not like when I hurt myself last time, when my knee went to the side, now the landing was good but it did not feel right in the knee."

A scan at the hospital in Doha showed no signs of a torn ACL, but further scans in Stockholm revealed the damaged inner meniscus in the left knee, the same knee she injured last year. There will be not enough time to recover from surgery before the Olympic qualification event coming up in April in Rio de Janeiro.

Adlerteg, who turns 21 in June, is staying positive about her future.

"I still think I have my best years ahead of me – it feels like it," she said. "It's the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 that are now to look forward to."

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Swedish gymnasts includes:
"Swedish History-maker" Jonna Adlerteg profile (November 2010)
"Scouting Scandinavia" – feature on IG's visit to clubs in Sweden and Norway (March 2011)
"Swedish Upswing" – women's team feature (November 2010)
"Swedish Achiever" Ida Gustafsson short profile (June 3013)
"Sweden's Standout" - Mans Stenberg profile (March 2010)
Quick Chat: Veronica Wagner (November 2008)
Veronica's Date: 2008 – Veronica Wagner profile (February 2005)
"Swedish Sojourn" – Karolina Bohman profile (February 2003)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 28 March 2016 10:16    PDF Print
Despite Bruising, Käslin Cruising Towards Olympic Test Event
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Swiss veteran Ilaria Käslin told IG that, although she was shaken up by a heavy fall from balance beam at the recent DTB Team Challenge in Stuttgart, she remains confident heading into the upcoming Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro.

Swiss veteran Ilaria Käslin told IG that, although she was shaken up by a heavy fall from balance beam at the recent DTB Team Challenge in Stuttgart, she remains confident heading into the upcoming Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro.

"I don't know why I did it like that," said Käslin, who crashed against the beam after a switch ring leap in Stuttgart on March 20. "The technique was wrong and the beam is not so wide, so I fell. I think the fall was like an alarm that I must pay more attention and think more about technique. But it is not serious and I can train like usual."

Käslin with coach Zoltan Jordanov after her fall off beam at the DTB Team Challenge on March 20 in Stuttgart

Despite the mishap, Käslin is continuing well and preparing for the test event. She placed fourth on floor exercise at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Doha on Saturday.

"I'm so happy that nothing serious happened," Käslin said. "I have some bruising on both inner thighs, and a bit on the chest, but I'm fine and so happy that I can work normally and continue the test event preparation."

Switzerland finished 16th at last fall's World Championships in Glasgow, earning the last team spot for the test event that will take place April 18-22 in Rio.

The top eight teams in Glasgow got automatic berths for this summer's Olympic Games, and the next eight teams moved on to the test event. The top four teams at the test event will advance to the Games.

Käslin's best international results include 22nd place all-around at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, first on floor exercise and third on balance beam at the 2015 Challenge Cup of Varna, and third on floor exercise at the 2015 Challenge Cup of Doha.

Käslin is optimistic that she can help the Swiss women score an Olympic team berth if they perform confidently at the test event.

"I really hope that the team will get the ticket for the Olympics," Käslin told IG. "So my goal is to do my routines really well and show my best. I know that it will be not easy to get the place for the Olympics, because everyone works hard to reach this goal, and so I will do my best to help the team."

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Swiss gymnastics includes:

"Brägger Breaks Through" - Pablo Brägger profile (January/February 2014)
"No Turning Back" - Claudio Capelli profile (June 2011)
Interview with Swiss team head coach Zoltan Jordanov (January/February 2014)
"Swiss Hit" - Ariella Käslin profile (December 2008)
"Swiss Thrill-seeker" - A. Käslin short profile (January/February 2007)
"A New Swiss Standout" - Ilaria Käslin profile (December 2013) Giulia Steingruber cover photo (May 2015)
"Full Force" - Steingruber interview (June 2013)
"A New Hit for the Swiss" - Steingruber profile (December 2009)

To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of International Gymnast magazine, or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 22 March 2016 06:48    PDF Print
Ferlito Gets Foot Scans Following Frightening Fall
(8 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)

Italian Olympian Carlotta Ferlito was back at the doctor's following her frightening fall on Sunday, the Italian Gymnastics Federation reported.

Italian Olympian Carlotta Ferlito was back at the doctor's following her frightening fall on Sunday, the Italian Gymnastics Federation reported.

Ferlito missed her foot on her roundoff, double pike dismount on balance beam at the City of Jesolo Tournament on Sunday, landing directly on her head. Ferlito was taken away in a neck brace, but scans at the hospital in Portogruaro were all negative for any spinal damage.

Her coach, Paolo Bucci, confirmed that Ferlito was fortunately only frightened by the fall. She returned to the hospital on Monday for an MRI of the foot she missed on her dismount, and again the Italian federation reported no serious injuries were found.

Her fall, which was broadcast on live television, immediately made headlines in Italy, where Ferlito is a huge star. For the past several years, Ferlito has starred on MTV Italy's "Parallel Lives," a reality show documenting the lives of the gymnasts at the national training center in Milan. Ferlito won the "Sports Hero" award at the MTV Italy Awards in both 2013 and 2015.

Ferlito posted a "Thumbs up" photo on Instagram on Monday, thanking her fans for all the messages she had received.

"I wanted to thank you for all the love and support that I have received," she wrote. "I hope to return as soon as possible to competition!"

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 11 March 2016 00:03    PDF Print
Canada's Rogers Ramping Up For Rio
(9 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)

2012 Olympic vault finalist Brittany Rogers of Canada told IG that her busy competitive season for the University of Georgia is readying her for a shot at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Rogers at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow

"I'm super happy that this is a base set for me," said Rogers following Sunday's tri-meet in Los Angeles among Georgia, Stanford University and UCLA. "We worked really hard to make sure I'm able to maintain my Elite routines, but still stay healthy and able to compete weekend after weekend."

Rogers' collegiate routines continue to earn strong scores under NCAA rules, but she plans to fortify them for maximum value at the international level as the Rio Games approach.

"On bars I have to add two requirements – a full turn and a front element – so I'm going to be adding another turning element and another release move," said Rogers, who at last fall's World Championships in Glasgow helped the Canadian women place sixth and thereby earn a team berth to Rio. "That's going to be at the front of my routine, but the rest of my routine will be the same, at least for Canadian nationals. And then hopefully I'll upgrade from there."

Rogers also wants to increase her difficulty level on balance beam and floor exercise.

"On beam I'll have to do a bigger dismount, obviously (from her current 1-1/2 twist), and my leap series will be a bit different," said Rogers, a senior majoring in consumer journalism. Her collegiate floor routine includes an Arabian double front as a first pass, and a double pike as a final pass. "I will be upgrading my middle pass (currently a 1-1/2 twist to punch layout front) and upgrading my leaps," she said.

Rogers, who placed seventh on vault at the 2012 Olympics and was second reserve for the vault final at the 2015 Worlds, scored 10.0 for her 1-1/2 twisting Yurchenko (worth 10.0 in NCAA scoring) on Sunday. She competed a double-twisting Yurchenko in Glasgow and earlier in this NCAA season, and plans to restore it to her program.

Although Rogers has been competing all-around during the collegiate season, she skipped floor exercise on Sunday to conserve energy for meets later in the month.

"We competed Friday at home, so it was smart for me to rest and prepare for the meet against Utah next weekend," Rogers said. "Then we have SECs (Southeast Conference Championships, March 19). The season picks up from here, so we thought it was the best idea to rest me. We're trying to taper down a little bit, to save my body for post-season and obviously this summer."

Rogers will have little rest between the end of her academic year and her return to Canada for pre-Games training under coach David Kenwright at Calgary Gymnastics Centre.

Following the NCAA Championships in mid-April, she looks forward to preparing for the Canadian Championships, May 31-June 5 in Edmonton.

"I'll be done with finals (exams) the first week of May and then go right to Calgary," she said. "The Canadian Championships are about two hours from where I train, so it will be nice to be kind of local." With several competitive targets in succession, Rogers is pacing herself for the string of important competitions that she hopes lead her to Rio.

"I actually went to (Georgia head coach) Danna (Durant) and said, 'I need help focusing on today's (Sunday's) meet, and not getting ahead of myself and thinking about the future, because I can't control that,'" Rogers told IG. "And that's exactly what Danna said. She said, 'You can control what you're doing now. And not only is competing week after week helping your routines, and helping you be able to compete, but it's helping you be a team leader.' That's what I hope to bring to Gymnastics Canada - my team awareness and how to be a team player. I'm looking forward to bringing all of that, the whole package, to Gymnastics Canada."


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