Aliya Mustafina will miss the 2019 World Championships
Speaking exclusively to the Olympic Channel on Sunday, while attending the Russian Cup in Penza, Mustafina admitted that her recovery from injury will not allow her to participate in this year’s global competition.
"Most likely, I will not go to the World Championships because I missed the Russian Cup I can’t qualify for the World Championships," the 24-year-old said. "At the moment, I choose to find myself physically, mentally, to rest a little. I want to start my way to Tokyo with a brand new energy."
“Recently, I had a very serious injury, calf rupture, and I couldn’t go to European Games in Minsk even though I really wanted to. I was in a really good shape so it made me upset that I couldn’t go." - Aliya Mustafina to Olympic Channel.
Previously, the 2010 World all-around champion had insisted that despite her withdrawal from competition this week in Penza she was aiming for a spot in Stuttgart.
“I decided to withdraw from the Russian Cup," she told TASS earlier. "But this doesn’t mean that I gave up on my intention to make the team for the World Championships."
Mustafina was the most decorated Russian at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she won three medals. Her back-to-back wins on the uneven bars at London 2012 and Rio 2016 were the first since compatriot Svetlana Khorkina accomplished the same feat in 1996 and 2000.
Following Rio, Mustafina stepped away from the sport and became a mother to daughter Alisa. She returned to the sport at the 2018 Russian Championships, where she finished fourth. An injury kept her out of the European Championships but she recovered in time to help Russia to second place at last year’s Worlds.
Injury woes in the past
“My life has changed in that my free time is now spent with my daughter,” she said last year. "There was nothing extra difficult. There was a huge wish to get back to the sport, so I didn’t pay attention to anything difficult."
Difficult times are not something that have ever gotten in Mustafina’s way. In 2011, the then reigning World all-around champion tore her ACL in her knee. A year later, she found herself on the all-around podium and wearing the uneven bars gold medal at the London Olympics.
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Likewise, a back injury kept Mustafina out of the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow. That was a distant memory by the Rio Games where she replicated her London all-around bronze and uneven bars gold medals.
Mustafina is hoping for more of the same next year, confirming to Olympic Channel that she remains undeterred in her bid for a third appearance at the Olympic Games.
"After resting, I plan to get back to my best shape, to show my best programs and without rushing reach Tokyo and perform well," said Mustafina. "I will be really happy if I make it to Tokyo, will be happy if I can help the team."
"The fact that it’s my third Olympics, it’s just my choice."