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Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 15 February 2019 10:19    PDF Print
Ana Padurariu: ‘I Prayed To God To Help Me Remain Calm’
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Ana Padurariu earned the silver medal on balance beam, and her fellow Canadians placed an historic fourth place in the team final.

Below excerpts of an interview, which will appear in the 2019 March issue of International Gymnast.

IG: As soon as you landed your dismount in the beam final in Doha, you looked delighted and you clapped.

AP: What was your first thought as you saluted and ran off the podium? Once I finished the routine, I was just very happy that I ended without any big mistakes. I did not know the outcome at that time, but I knew that I did not let my coach and my team down.

IG: When you reflect on your performance in the beam final, what do you feel it demonstrated to you, in terms of your ability to hit under tremendous pressure in the biggest competition thus far of your career?

AP: I treat each competition as the most important one. This one was a bit different from the others because of the qualifications to the (2020) Olympics, and of course the pressure and the stress was to another level to not let your team down. Being part of the top eight gymnasts to compete in the beam final and against the most powerful and talented gymnasts in the world was already a huge accomplishment, so as the final came along, I just wanted to go out there and show the routine that I have trained so many times, and most importantly, have fun.

IG: With so much at stake in the beam final — not only a medal but a chance to make amends for the team final — how did you manage to keep yourself together and deliver the routine you did?

AP: I started the routine knowing that I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to show myself, the team and coaches that I could do it, and that I deserved and was honored to be selected to represent my country at such an important competition.

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

Written by Admin    Monday, 31 December 2018 07:43    PDF Print
Sophie Marois Set 'To Give 100 Percent In 2019'
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Sophie Marois competed on only vault during the Canadian women’s historical fourth-place performance in the team final at last fall’s 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, but she is eager to contribute more as she upgrades her all-around program in the new year.

Marois, a native of Montreal who trains at Viagym in Terrebonne, Quebec, finished fifth all-around at both the 2017 and 2018 Canadian Championships. Her best international apparatus results include first place on balance beam at the 2017 Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru, third place on vault at the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin, Colombia, and sixth place on vault at the 2017 Challenge Cup of Cottbus, Germany.

In this IG Online interview, the ambitious Marois recalls Canada’s unexpectedly strong showing in Doha and outlines her goals for 2019.

IG: Was fourth place in Doha a surprise to you and the other gymnasts on the team, or exactly where you wanted to place?

SM: Yes, the results were surprising for us. We did not think at all about coming in fourth in the world. This is the best result that Canada has ever achieved. The day of the final, we wanted only to do our best and give all that we had. We did not think at all about results, because our objective was already attained in advancing to the team final.

IG: So close to a medal, what could your team have done better to win the bronze?

SM: I do not think we could have done anything better. I really think that we gave everything in the team final. Sure, we made some mistakes here and there, but we will learn from these mistakes and so it is going to help us advance even more. I think we showed that Canada can be a very competitive country, and this fourth place motivates us even more to get onto the (medal) podium at the next World Championships in 2019.

IG: In Doha you competed on only vault in the team final, and on vault and floor exercise in qualifications. In the future, what plans do you have to compete all-around internationally?

SM: I would really like to compete all-around for Canada, and this is what Canada is looking for presently — gymnasts who have have high scores on four apparatuses. On the contrary, I still need to improve my start values on the other apparatuses to be able to compete with the best gymnasts in the world. I am therefore working very hard on my start values as well as on my execution.

IG: Who coaches you, and on which apparatuses?

SM: My coaches are Frank Kistler and Fanie Daunais. Frank is my coach on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise, and Fanie is my coach on balance beam. Fanie also takes care of the artistry and is also present with us on the other apparatuses in order to give us corrections. My coaches work very well as a team, which facilitates training.

IG: How, where and with whom did you spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve?

SM: I spent them with my family. We celebrated Christmas with my mother’s family that lives in Montreal, and we celebrated New Year’s Eve with my father’s family that lives in Granby. I adore visiting my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, and spending time with them, because I do not have the chance to see them very often.

IG: What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, in and out of the gym?

SM: My resolution for 2019 is to better appreciate all of the moments spent inside the gym and outside the gym, and to always give my 100 percent in everything I do, so as to not have regrets.

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

Written by Admin    Thursday, 20 December 2018 08:00    PDF Print
Cunningham Motivated To 'Work Harder And More Sensibly'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Reflecting on a successful year that included a gold medal-winning performance on floor exercise at the 2018 European Championships and a fourth-place finish on vault at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, British gymnast Dominick Cunningham is preparing to take on challenging new difficulty in future competitions.

The 23-year-old Cunningham, who was born and trains in Birmingham, England, placed second all-around and first on vault at both the 2017 and 2018 British Championships. He placed first on floor exercise at the Europeans held in Glasgow in August, and missed a vault medal at this fall’s Worlds by 0.009 points.

In this IG Online interview, Cunningham comments on his performances in Doha and Glasgow, and forecasts his upcoming prospects.

IG: Given that you were very close to third place on vault in Doha, would you consider your performance a success on its own or do you think you could have challenged for a medal with a slightly better performance?

DC: My target was to land my vaults and let the results do the talking. I was very happy with my performance—I’m not competing against babies. These are the best in the world!

IG: (Gold medalist) Ri’s Se Gwang’s Difficulty-scores are so high, but what do you think you can do to close the gap with him? Will you work to improve your D-scores, or try to outscore him in execution?

DC: I knew his D-scores as he has been doing those vaults for years. I will be upgrading my first vault but I had to get used to competing a half-on vault first.  I know going forward my execution will be a lot higher and that is an area I may be able to make up ground on him.

IG: How realistic would it be for anyone to beat Ri at this point?

DC: At this point, anything can happen in gymnastics. The scores can be so close. For example, when I came fourth by 0.009, this is how competitive it is.

IG: As the European champion on floor, did you have higher expectations than your actual performance in qualifications?

DC: Floor is a tough one for me. I was happy to just put in consistent scores for the team but I know I need to upgrade my D-score going forward.

IG: Your floor tumbling was solid, and you had only minor landing issues on your passes. Do you think the landings are what cost you a place in the final, or was it one or more factors?

DC: I need to increase my difficulty. Landings are why I won in the European Championships. I knew I wouldn’t push anywhere near the World medals with this routine, so I need to increase my difficulty.

IG: What is your biggest take-away from Doha, in terms of your own gymnastics and how it compares to the rest of the world?

DC: The biggest thing I took from this World Championships is that I am not currently at the level to medal, and that makes me motivated to work harder and more sensibly, so I’m looking forward to the future.

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

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 12 October 2018 07:49    PDF Print
Scheder Says Worlds 'A Great Chance To Show I Am Back'
(6 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)

2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sophie Scheder of Germany told IG that her third-place all-around finish at the recent German Championships revealed only some of the strength she hopes to display at this month’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Injuries have stalled the 21-year-old Scheder’s progress since she placed third on uneven bars at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She underwent knee surgery in spring 2017 and suffered a finger injury just prior to this summer’s European Championships. Still not at full strength, Scheder nonetheless finished third all-around, behind gold medalist Elisabeth Seitz and silver medalist Kim Bui, at last month’s German Championships in Leipzig.

In this IG Online interview, Scheder comments on her post-Rio setbacks and her hopes for advancing to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, starting with Doha.

IG: With the German Championships coming so soon after your finger injury, how were you able to consolidate all four of your routines so quickly, and produce such a good all-around result in Leipzig?

SS: I was very happy with my performance and excited to compete again. It has been a very tough time. After recovering from my knee injury I already had all my routines prepared for the European Championships in August. The injury on my finger was very unexpected and stopped me from performing my regular training schedule for another eight weeks. The first six weeks I was only able to do cardio and lower-body exercises. After that I slowly started on beam, floor and vault. Finally, eight weeks later I was allowed to train on uneven bars again. The preparation time for the German Championships was therefore very limited. That’s why I only performed routines with lower difficulties. The time was simply missing to show my full potential, but I think all the years of experience as well as mental training really helped me to prepare for the competition.

IG: What led to your 2017 knee surgery, and what caused your 2018 finger injury?

SS: Basically years of over-strain caused my knee injury. The pain in my knee started years before the Olympics. Afterwards it was simply the best time to have surgery. That’s why I went to a specialist in Vail (Colorado) in April 2017. They found out that my patella tendon was 70 percent “worn off,” and they fixed it. My plan was to have a great comeback in January 2018, but due to other health restrictions everything got delayed. At the end of May I was able to get back into my regular training, and in mid-June my first competition after the surgery took place. I was super excited to be back and then a week later, at the end of June, I injured my left ring finger during a practice routine on uneven bars. I did a flying element, but couldn’t grip the bar right. Instead I stubbed my finger pretty badly on the bar. It broke and a tendon tore. I had surgery on July 5.

IG: Although you have coped with injuries since Rio, your performance in Leipzig shows that you seem to be picking up right where you left off. But, in your view, what areas of your program do you need to improve by Doha?

SS: As I mentioned earlier I did not show my full routines in Leipzig. For Doha I will definitely increase the difficulties and work more on my stability on uneven bars and beam. Vault will stay the same and I won’t compete on floor.

IG: What has kept you positive and motivated despite your post-Rio injuries?

SS: The dream of Tokyo 2020 for sure. Knowing how it feels to stand on the medal podium as well as hoping to experience this once again. Gymnastics is my passion. I love competing. That’s what motivates me from day to day. The support of my family, friends and fans also helped a lot.

IG: After winning an Olympic medal on bars, you have a chance to win a medal on bars in Doha. But you also have the task of helping your team move forward in the qualification process for Tokyo. How are you keeping both of these opportunities in proper focus?

SS: Well, I haven’t won a medal at the World Championships yet, but that is definitely my goal. Competing in Doha is a great chance for me to show everyone that I am back. That is what I’m most excited about. Winning a medal would be the icing on the cake. But of course I’ll also give my best for my team. We all have the same dream — competing at the Olympics in Tokyo. I am more than confident that we will achieve that together.

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of German gymnasts includes:

“Genuine Germans” - profiles on Tabea Alt, Philipp Herder, Nils Dunkel and Elisabeth Seitz (June 2017) “Schäfer Act” - profile on Pauline and Helene Schäfer (July/August 2017) Sophie Scheder chat (October 2016)

"New Digs" - visit to German men's training center in Kienbaum (July/August 2016)

Erika Zuchold obituary (October 2015)

Hall of Fame induction feature including Johanna Quaas (June 2015)

"Shooting Star" - Tabea Alt profile (May 2015)

"Quick Chat: Pauline Schäfer" (January/February 2015)

Maike Enderle profile (September 2014)

"Renaissance Man" – Fabian Hambüchen cover story (December 2013)

"Calm, Clean Style" - Sophie Scheder profile (December 2013)

"New View from the Top" - Lisa Katharina Hill profile (July/August 2013)

Kim Bui interview (April 2013)

"Silver Streak" - Marcel Nguyen interview (November 2012)

"Tough Lesson" - Janine Berger interview (October 2012)

"Leaps and Bounds for Germany" - Nadine Jarosch profile (January/February 2012)

"Seizing the Moment" - Elisabeth Seitz interview (July/August 2011)

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

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 02 October 2018 08:31    PDF Print
Austria's Haemmerle On Doha: 'I'm On The Right Track'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

As veteran Austrian gymnast Elisa Haemmerle prepares for this month’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she continues her renewed push towards a berth to the Olympic Games after two tries.

Hämmerle is hopeful that Doha will shift her and her Austrian team one competition closer to qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She and teammate Barbara Gasser contended for Austria’s one individual spot for the 2012 London Games, which Gasser ultimately earned. In podium training at the Olympic test event in Rio in April 2016, a competition that served as the final qualifying meet for the 2016 Rio Games, Haemmerle ruptured her Achilles tendon.

Recent results indicate that the 22-year-old Haemmerle is on course for 2020. She was Austria’s top scorer on balance beam and uneven bars at the European Championships in Glasgow in August. She won the fourth Challenge Cup medal of her career at last month’s Challenge Cup of Szombathely, where she earned the bronze medal on balance beam and placed fourth on uneven bars. Last weekend she placed 10th on balance beam (0.10 shy of the final) and 15th on uneven bars in qualifications at the French International in Paris.

Haemmerle plans to compete on the same two apparatuses in Doha, where she wants to help her Austrian team advance in the qualification process for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Also slated for Austria in Doha are Bianca Frysak, Jasmin Mader, Marlies Maennersdorfer, Christina Meixner and Alissa Moerz.

IG Online touched base with the resolute Haemmerle for this update on her goals for Doha and beyond.

IG: What motivated you to return to gymnastics at the top level after your injury at the Rio test event?

EH: I never wanted an injury to be the reason to retire from gymnastics. When the time comes to quit, I want it to be my own decision. I don’t want the last thing that I did in gymnastics to be that I injured myself. In 2016 I was in really good shape. My goal would have been to rank near the top 24 in the all-around. At that time, I was physically and mentally at the peak of my career, I was really well prepared and I had regularly obtained good results internationally prior to 2016. I knew I was capable of placing in the first third at the Rio Olympics, but I never got the chance to show everyone. This is especially what motivated me to come back. I felt like I had unfinished business to do, especially concerning Olympic Games. I have missed qualifying to compete at Olympics twice, and in the future, I don’t want to blame myself for not trying one more time. I know that all of my training was not for nothing and will be worth it one day.

IG: As one of your last big tests before Doha, how did your performances in Szombathely compare to the progress you hoped to make at this point prior to the World Championships?

EH: I draw a very positive balance overall from Szombathely. In the qualifications as well as in the final I could show my routines on bars und beam without major mistakes. These results show me that I’m on the right track with my work. Generally, to feel really prepared for a competition, I need many repetitions. Unfortunately, due to some shoulder issues after the European Championships, I was not able to train full bars routines until last week. I guess the many years of competition experience and mental strength helped me to hit my routines.

IG: Between now and Doha, what will be the focus of your training?

EH: For Doha it is planned that I will compete on bars and beam, like I did in Glasgow. We will focus on details in order to increase the Execution score. Furthermore I will especially pay attention on connecting elements in my beam routine, by which I could improve the D-score by 0.5 tenths.

IG: Doha is an important step for you and your team in the process of qualifying for Tokyo. What hopes and expectations do you have, for yourself personally and for your team, in Doha?

EH: Unfortunately, our team has been weakened due to our two strongest all-around teammates, Jasmin Mader and Marlies Maennersdorfer, suffering from injuries. This is going to make our initial goal, to reach the top 24, really difficult. We wanted to reach this goal to be able to send a team to next year’s World Championships (in Stuttgart). For me personally, I want to concentrate to perform well on bars and beam, and be able to perform according to my training achievements. In this way I can strengthen my self-confidence and help our team to score a better result. Until then, I hope our team will be able to prepare well for Doha and I hope we will suffer no more injuries.

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


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