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IG Interview: Christopher Jursch (Germany)
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German gymnast Christopher Jursch said the experience he gained at this month's worlds in Antwerp has encouraged him to increase the difficulty of his routines and well prepared him for future competitions.

Reflecting on his recent world championships debut, German gymnast Christopher Jursch said the experience he gained at this month's worlds in Antwerp has encouraged him to increase the difficulty of his routines and well prepared him for future competitions.

Born Sept. 27, 1992, Jursch trains at SC Cottbus, where he is coached by 1996 Olympian Karsten Oelsch. He won the German junior all-around title in 2008.

Jursch placed fourth on high bar and fifth on vault at the 2012 German championships; and fifth all-around, first on high bar and third on parallel bars at the 2013 German Championships. His best international finishes include first place on parallel bars at the 2011 FIG Challenge Cup of Doha, Qatar; and third place on parallel bars and third place on high bar at the 2012 Toyota Cup in Japan.

Jursch competed on three apparatuses in Antwerp, with mixed results. He finished 28th on parallel bars, 55th on pommel horse and 78th on horizontal bar.

In this IG Online interview, Jursch reflects on his preparations for worlds, what his actual performances showed him, and what he learned from competing on the global podium for the first time.

IG: You recently celebrated your 21st birthday followed quickly by your first start in a world championship. How did you stay focused on your expectations for Antwerp, and not the milestones?

CJ: The main goal for these world championships was to learn (from them). I wanted to get accustomed to the competition process and the atmosphere, see how I could cope with being the newcomer and most importantly learn how to deal with the pressure. Of course I tried my best, but unfortunately it does not always work out.

Jursch on high bar in Antwerp

IG: In Antwerp you had a good finish on parallel bars, but some problems on pommel horse and horizontal bar. Looking back, what do you think you could have improved on all three apparatuses?

CJ: On parallel bars I had a good performance but the Difficulty score was simply too low to be among the top gymnasts. With a slightly better performance on the horizontal bar, a chance for the final would have been there. I know I could have had a good showing on this apparatus. Overall it showed that I need to increase the difficulty score to be competitive. A little more stability and a higher output will be needed in order for me to make the jump into the finals or even onto the podium.

IG: What has your experience at the world championships shown you, in terms of how prepared you are, physically and psychologically, to compete against the very best gymnasts

CJ: The fact is that the top athletes such as Fabian Hambüchen and (world high bar champion) Epke Zonderland (Netherlands) have much more experience at these competitions and know how to deal with these high-pressure situations. They have competed against the other world class athletes before, thus to them it is not so special anymore. The whole preparation was very exhausting up to the world championships. This type of preparation was new to me and demanded a lot. Therefore it must be said that my physical shape was perhaps a little worse than I would have liked. But my morale was very high.

IG: What is your perspective on Fabian's all-around success (third place) in Antwerp, and how will it motivate you?

CJ: I don't use someone else's success to motivate myself. For me the motivation coming out of being nominated and competing in world championships alone was incredibly high. Over the course of the competition and with the results achieved, I can say that the shown performances were better than what we expected talking before the competition. Yet seeing what the others do, knowing what is still possible for me, I know that there are hardly any limits for my routines. In the end I can say that being part of the world championships has given me motivation to train even harder in the future.

IG: You competed on three apparatuses in Antwerp, but what are your plans for competing on up to six apparatuses in the future?

CJ: Of course I want to concentrate not only on individual events. My goal is to compete in the all-around competition, but that takes a lot of training and hard work. So in the future I want to be useful for the team not only on three apparatuses, but hopefully be an important part on all events.

IG: The competition to make the German team in 2014, 2015 and ultimately 2016 is going to be tough. What strategy will you use to earn a place on the team?

CJ: I don't think determining a strategy is a good choice. Never will everything go according to plan, and that's why you cannot fully plan ahead. But to remain part of the team for the future, I will have to go far beyond my actual boundaries and provide a higher difficulty score and stable routines. Not only do I want be good on three, but on all six events, which will be helpful for the team, as well.

German male gymnasts are featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:

Philipp Boy: interview (May 2011)
Matthias Fahrig: profile (July/August 2007)
Fabian Hambüchen: cover photo (April 2009), cover photo and profile (November 2007), cover photo (June 2007), center poster (April 2007), profile (May 2003)
Sebastian Krimmer: profile (January 2011)
Marcel Nguyen: interview (November 2012), profile (June 2011)
Ronny Ziemser: interview (January 2005)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

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