Octavian Bellu: “[The girls need] to work hard and to want to be the best!”

From GSP:

The Romanian National team coach, who returned from Tokyo together with his gymnasts on Monday evening, stated at the Henri Coanda airport that he will be going back to hard trainings. “Those who can cope, will cope! Those who won’t, won’t!” The Romanian delegation returned from the Tokyo World Championships without any medal, this being the worst result in 30 years.

How do you see this result?
Downright terrible. I assume responsibility for it, although it’s hard to take this in considering the amount of work I’ve put in. It’s probably also our fault, we made a bad evaluation at the beginning and we were wrong. We thought some girls can and want more. If we don’t admit something is wrong, we won’t solve anything. This generation is less prone to sustained effort and this cannot improve over night.

– Is this the current level of Romanian gymnastics?!
The lack of medals at this World Championship is not a surprise. In the last few years we’ve moved away from the three world powers, the US, China and Russia. Even if we did reach the podium a number of times, it was mostly in individual events due to good performances from some of the girls. It is getting harder and harder for us to have 3-4 gymnasts who can compete at the highest level on all events.

The difference in mentality.

– What did the girls lack compared to other gymnasts?
– Well. Besides the physical problems, this generation is not mentally strong. They are not less talented; there is a difference in mentality. I still cannot understand how they can do so well in training and cannot do the same in competition. They go there with the fear of making mistakes. Instead of focusing on outdoing themselves, they do the contrary. They have a passive role in their own movie, in their own transformation into champions. You cannot train and grow imagining the worst.

– What will come next?
– Radical measures will be taken, no ifs…We’ll start an aggressive campaign to catch up as much as we can. It´s all in the girls´ hands, we cannot experiment as we did in 2002 when we built a new generation for the 2004 Olympics. An important part in getting ready for London will be the way they will speed up training and the way they will understand that you need to want to win first. Then we will stop thinking that the girls will not cope with hard trainings. Those who can cope, will cope. Those who won’t, won’t!

– How much can we recuperate?
– I don’t know. As much as possible, I hope. Now the difference looks huge. I don’t see why what we did before Sydney and Athens would not work now. The 2004 girls were not given any chance either, but they made it. You cannot have results with minimum effort though…

Total motivation.

– What is our weakness?
Bars is our most problematic apparatus, we start off with almost a 5 point difference. It’s a historical problem for us. No matter how hard the other routines are, it’s difficult to catch up. The problem here comes from the club training, they come with huge gaps and as much as we try to improve, it’s not that’s easy at this point.

– What are the girls supposed to do from now on?

– Work hard and want to be the best.

– How important is Catalina Ponor’s experience for the team?

– Catalina is the last to have come in, after such a long break. There is nothing more she could have done, she impressed everyone. She’s an experienced gymnast who remained in everyone’s memory together with the 2004 team. It is clear she has a different vision; she knows what a real group is. I didn’t expect much of her but she did her job despite of everything. I expected more from Porgras or Racea. Amelia is still at her 2009 level, when she won beam, but gymnastics has grown since then.


One Response to Octavian Bellu: “[The girls need] to work hard and to want to be the best!”

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