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Anna Pavlova and Yulia Ishina Are Now Competing For Azerbaijan

The latest news coming from Russia is Anna Pavlova and Yulia Inshina will now be competing for Azerbaijan.

The news broke today when the FIG released the minutes of their latest meeting, held November 21-22 in Lausanne Switzerland. Yulia and Anna will be joined by 2011 European still rings champion, Konstantin Pluzhnikov. According to International Gymnast Magazine, Pluzhnikov made the switch to Azerbaijan a year ago when Alexander Balandin was chosen for the 2012 Olympic Team over him. 

Anna has been seen in smaller World Cup meets, but has not represented Russia in a major international meet since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She recently competed with fellow Pro-Gymnastics Challenge competitors, Paul Ruggeri of the United States and the always fabulous, Oksana Chusovitina at the Tournai de Schiltigheim, in Schiltigheim, France earlier a couple months ago.

Yulia was a member of the 2011 World Championship team that won silver. She also placed sixth in the beam final.

What does the head coach/team coordinator of Russia, Valentia Rodionenko have to say? Par for the course as usual, she's her lovely, shining self about the matter (I mean that sarcastically). Via Russian Gymnastics:

"We need to start with the fact that no one ever leaves the Russian national team to play for another country. Pavlova is no longer a member of the national team. The Russian team does no longer need her services, so she is entitled to play for another country. We [immediately] gave our consent. On the other hand, Inshina decision is questionable, and not about the fact that she will go there. She's overweight and she also has back problems. Every country needs gymnasts that are able to compete. I don't [consider] these gymnasts a loss. Anyone that in needed on the Russian team will not go anywhere. Maybe will leave those who will not integrate in the national team and whom are looking for a place in which they can compete."

The Republic Azerbaijan is a former Soviet country bordering Armenia and Iran. Their population is about 10 million and they have had great successes in Rhythmic Gymnastics with recruiting athletes from Russia. They are an oil rich nation with two -thirds of the country producing natural gas and oil. (via Wikipedia)

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