IG contributor Kaori Miyaura chatted with Russia’s Aliya Mustafina during the Japan Cup this weekend in Tokyo.
Mustafina, a junior, helped Russia finish second to China in the team competition on Saturday. On Sunday, she finished second all-around behind China’s Huang Quishuang and ahead of teammate Tatiana Nabiyeva.
Born Sept. 30, 1994, Mustafina is one of Russia’s top prospects for the 2012 Olympic Games. She finished second all-around behind Nabiyeva at the 2008 Junior European Gymnastics Championships in Clermont-Ferrand.
Mustafina trains at Moscow’s Central Sport Army Club (CSKA) with coaches Olga Sikorro and Sergei Zelikson. Her younger sister, Nailia Mustafina, is also a member of Russia’s junior team, and won the silver medal on floor exercise at the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships in San Jose.
Following the team competition in Tokyo, Miyaura caught up with Mustafina, who will be eligible for senior competition in 2010.
IG: When is the next competition for you?
AM: The Russian Cup is my next competition. It’s going to be held in the end of August in Penza. After going back home, I’ll be working toward it.
IG: Do you have any gymnasts as your role model?
AM: I like Nastia Liukin (U.S.). I adore her elegant and beautiful performances with difficult elements. I like especially her graceful uneven bars and balance beam.
Among the Russians, I like Ksenia Afanasyeva. I respect her strong and beautiful gymnastics.
IG: Could you tell us your future goals?
AM: To participate in the 2012 Olympics in London. But just participating is not enough. I want to show good enough performances and make a good contribution to lead our team to good results.
IG: Could you give a message to international fans?
AM: Me? To international fans? Is it OK from me?
IG: Yes, of course. You have worldwide fans.
AM: I’d like to say thank you very much to everybody who supports me.