The 2011 Romanian Nationals @ The Medal Factory Ep.15

[The Medal Factory – episode 15 (c) DigiSport]


Cristi Moldovan:“As a gymnast, the power is in your hands. As a coach, when you get to the competition your work is over. Only the gymnast can show what she has learned in training. As a coach I can only support her. “

In only a few weeks, the World Championships will be undergoing. The team, coordinated by Octavian Bellu and Mariana Bitang, is focused on the final tests before the Tokyo Worlds. Training is extremely important until then but gymnasts´ health is top priority, any injury could send the coaches back to the drawing board, especially since this Championship also offers the tickets to the London Games.

Octavian Bellu: No one wants to risk seeing something bad happening, any mistake or injury would take the gymnast out of the World Championships at this moment and, in case of a serious injury, even out of the Olympic team.

Ana Porgras is one of the team´s main members, appreaciated for her artistry and ambition. Ana has surpassed all injury and hopes to improve her results at this year´s Worlds. During the last two years, her beautiful performances on beam and bars have brought her medals in the biggest competitions. In 2010, she won gold in Rotterdam and in 2009 she was third on bars, after a promising performance. Today, Ana is showing improvement after a hard period: she shinned on floor at the Romanian Nationals. Ana is confident, but she is self aware too, understanding her mistakes.

Ana Porgras: I am very happy I did well on all three apparatus, but I´m sad about bars. I hope this was just a one time mistake.

Andreea Raducan: Are there any more changes you want to make, small details or anything you need to fix before Worlds?

Ana Porgras: It would be too much to do any changes now, there is too little time left. I only need to take in my routines, make sure I do them well.

Andreea Raducan: Were you nervous?

Ana Porgras: Because it was my first competition after Euros – which was not a very good competition for me – I was a bit nervous but I´m glad I got over it. I changed my floor routine and I feel great, I´m happy I got to start with the double layout. I hope from now on thing will go even better.

Andreea Raducan: Then you will be competing in both of the upcoming competitions?

Ana Porgras: Yes, they are training stages for Worlds.

Andreea Raducan: Are you planning on including anything new into their routines for the next two competitions before Worlds?

Raluca Bugner: We will mostly stick with the structure and difficulty they have now. We will keep working on perfecting and controling the routines, have them mentaly ready. You will not see major changes in difficulty.

Andreea Raducan: What advice did you receive from Mr. Bellu for today´s competition?

Ana Porgras: To stay calm and not to worry. I perfectly know what I need to do.

Andreea Raducan: Will you give me a prediction on what will happen at Worlds? This is the closest stage at the moment….

Ana Porgras: I would not want to say this now, I don´t know exactly what we will do, the competition is tough and you never….

Andreea Raducan: You were telling me ealier that you watch competitions online, the US Nationals, Russian events…Have you been following where they are with their trainings and routines?

Ana Porgras: Yes, I can´t say their level is much higher than ours. I´ve noticed the US team has good vaults, but the rest of the apparatus are not unbeatable. The same with Russia, so I´ve got my chances…

Andreea Raducan: I know it´s pretty difficult to tell and we don´t normally do this, but what do you think will happen at Worlds? We´ve seen the other countries at their Nationals so what do you think will make the difference between them and us?

Lucian Sandu: For your first question, as I am a positive person – you already know this – I want to go there and win first place. What will really happen, we´ll see right there.

Lucian Sandu: Good luck!

Andreea Raducan: Thanks!

Andreea Raducan: How did you feel and what was the general feeling among the team members?

Ana Porgras: I felt good. I think we are closer now, we encourage each other more, hopefully we will be a strong team in Tokyo.

Andreea Raducan: Are there new elements to add to the Worlds routines?

Mariana Ristea: From an artistic point of view yes. We want to add in some difficulty and we hope the execution will be good.

Ana Porgras: I´m ambitious, fragile, I don´t like to give up and I don´t like to give in when I know I´m right. Those at my age cannot start gymnastics at this point, what I would advise them is to follow their dream, regardless of their field of activity.

Amelia Racea, another important member of the National team, is a 4 apparatus gymnast. She hopes to peak at the World Championshiops in Tokyo.

Andreea Raducan: Do you want to change anything in your routines before Worlds?

Amelia Racea: Yes, I´d like to change something on bars and improve my execution.

Andreea Raducan: What is the atmoshpere inside the team? Are you supporting each other?

Amelia Racea: Yes, we´re a team. The public was ok too.

Andreea Raducan: What are you preparing until Worlds? There are 2 more competitions to go.

Amelia Racea: I hope to gain more confidence so that I can perform well at Worlds.

Andreea Raducan: Are you having any health issues?

Amelia Racea: No, everything is ok.

Andreea Raducan: Any problems you´ve had at Nationals?

Amelia Racea: Yes, I need more confidence to stop making mistakes because I get nervous.

For Romanian sport, gymnastics is tradition but this could change in time. The president of the Romanian Federation is worried about the future of the sport that brought many medals for Romania. Fewer kids are coming to the gyms and in just a couple of years, the number of gymnasts could seriously go down.

Adrian Stoica: Unfortunately, the number of kids is not as high as we were used to or as we could have wished. This is a difficult topic and cannot be discussed in only a few seconds right now but we are focusing on what is happening. Of couse, for this competition the rules say you cannot compete if you are not 13 and we have many more 12 years olds….

Andreea Raducan: What could those of us that are involved in Romanian gymnastics do to convince parents to bring their kids to the gym? Is there any marketing solution other than the TV shows and National competitions already under way?

Adrian Stoica: It´s very difficult to discuss in a few minutes, there is much to do and there are things that are not in the hands of the federation. We probably need to change the way we invest in sport, from a governmental level to a club´s level.

Many of the Junior gymnasts who participated in the National Championships were overwhelmed with nerves and their performance suffered.

Andreea Raducan: Here with me Cristi Moldovan, Deva Junior team coach. How did you see the girls today?

Cristian Moldovan: There were mixed feelings. Some girls controlled their nerves while others couldn´t so they made mistakes…

Andreea Raducan: We watched the competition and now we have an idea about future champions, who will represent us in the biggest competitions. Who do you think really stands a chance to represent Romania at competitions like the World Championships or the Olympic Games?

Cristian Moldovan: Right now we have 9 girls with the required age to be selected for the Junior team that will go to next year´s Junior Euros. From these 9 we would like to selected the top 5 and try to bring back home another team medal.

Andreea Raducan: How difficult is it working with kids today? Are they open to your advice?

Cristian Moldovan: They are open, yes. It´s a bit more difficult because they have many more opportunities, there is more than gym work, their parents can support them better as well. It´s very difficult to get them to sacrifice everything about childhood to follow this strict diet required by elite.

Andreea Raducan: How do you help them overcome critical moments? I´m sure most of them wanted to leave the sport at one time because of health issues, tight schedule…

Cristian Moldovan: I use their role models as examples as any gymnast has gone through moments like this when the body is tired and you need to get over it with the coaches´s or your family´s help. Getting over it is in the gymnast´s hands, there are also cases when they can´t and they retire. But we hope this is not the case of our girls, they are few anyway and there´s a lot of work to do.

Andreea Raducan: You have been a champion yourself, so you have the practical experience too. Is it harder to be a coach and train girls?

Cristian Moldovan: It´s tough, but I can´t choose one or the other….As a gymnast, the power is in your hands. As a coach, when you get to the competition your work is over. Only the gymnast can show what she has learned in training. As a coach I can only support her.

Andreea Raducan: Here with me, 3 future National team gymnasts. I will let them tell us where they started gymnastics and at what age.

Bianca Ciobanu: Petrolul Ploiesti, I was 4.

Silvia Zarzu: At Onesti at 7.

Andreea Munteanu: At Deva when I was 5.

Andreea Raducan: Silvia, what does gymnastics mean to you, what did you know about gymnastics when you first started?

Silvia Zarzu: In the beginning I didn´t know anything, I was just jumping around the gym. Then I realized it´s very important for me and my future. And it also means a lot of work.

Bianca Ciobanu: I didn´t know much, my mun didn´t want me to go, only my dad did. When I reached the Junior team I realized I was good and that I can do something with this. And I liked it.

Andreea Raducan: Was the road here very difficult? Before you competed in National events? How many hours do you train a week?

Andreea Munteanu: We train 5 hours a day but we only train once on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Andreea Raducan: When do you go to school?

Andreea Munteanu: From 5 to 7 in the afternoon.

Andreea Raducan: The teachers come to you?

Andreea Munteanu: Yes.

Andreea Raducan: Do you have a role model?

Silvia Zarzu: Yes, Nadia.

Bianca Ciobanu: Catalina Ponor.

Andreea Munteanu: Nadia Comaneci and you.

Andreea Raducan: When you are in competition, do you get nervous? Whar do you think about when you are ready to go on beam or bars?

Bianca Ciobanu: Our teacher told us not to be nervous, to sing or do whatever else but it still gets to you…

Silvia Zarzu: I imagine bad things will happen but then I realize I need to be positive in order not to get nervous…

Andreea Munteanu: I imagine I am alone in the gym and that I am doing the best routine I did in training.

Andreea Raducan: What is the most important competition you´ve gone to so far?

Silvia Zarzu: Today´s competition, Nationals.

Bianca Ciobanu: The same.

Andreea Munteanu: Same for me.

Andreea Raducan: Silvia, we saw a beautiful floor routine from you today. What is your favorite apparatus?

Silvia Zarzu: Floor.

Bianca Ciobanu: Bars.

Andreea Munteanu: Beam. I like it a lot.

Andreea Raducan: Maybe when you were little, starting off with gymnastics, you didn´t know about important competitions you´d like to be in. Today, after Nationals, are you thinking about being in a World Championship or going to the Olympics?

Silvia Zarzu: Yes, I´d really want that.

Bianca Ciobanu: Yes.

Andreea Munteanu: I´d like to go as far as I can, Worlds or the Olympics.

Andreea Raducan: Did you ever want to give this sport up becuase of its tight schedule or diet?

Silvia Zarzu: Yes, but my family supported me and I went on….

Bianca Ciobanu: I had bad moments but then I thought it was not worth leaving behind so many years of work.

Andreea Munteanu: I´ve never thought about that…

Andreea Raducan: Good luck to all of you!

Andreea Raducan: I was talking with Adrian Stoica about how difficult it is to bring kids to the gym nowadays. Do we have the same problem in Athletics?

Doina Melinte: Yes, there´s problems in all sports. Teachers don´t have the strength to do what they used to do, teach kids that sport is health, discipline, that you can make it through your hard work and the work of those who support you in that. I think we need to go back to schools and empower the teachers again. I learned gymnastics skills when I was little thanks to my teacher, we only had 3 mattresses…..


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.