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August - September 2004

India Sport Scene

Mohini Bharadwaj - Gymnast From USA

After competing in the 1997 and 2001 World Championships, Mohini Bhardwaj had high hopes going into the 2002 U.S. Championships. A dislocated elbow on her first event dashed her dream and she decided to retire from gymnastics. A year later, Mo has entered the gym again and hopes to make a run at the 2004 Olympic team. India Link spoke to Mohini about her retirement, her training and her goals for 2004

India Link:
Why did you decide to retire after your elbow injury at the 2002 U.S. Championships?

Mohini Bhardwaj: Well obviously my body was broken down. I had some school pending that I needed to finish. I wanted to complete my education. Gym was all I was focusing on for the three months going into the meet and then to get hurt on my first event was upsetting. After the injury I was pretty bummed out.

I felt like I wasted three months and didn't accomplish anything. Aside from finishing school, I did not make the national team and that posed financial problems. I was 24 and my parents were not paying for my stuff anymore. When I went to meets I had to pay for my flight and [coach] Chris [Waller]'s flight and a hotel room for each of us. I [was] over $ 2,000 in debt and I needed to take time off and pay for that stuff. So I got a job to start paying back my loans.

India Link: What made you decide to come back?

Mohini: I miss the sport. I feel like I have unfinished business. I have goals I want to accomplish. I have not made an Olympic team and that is my ultimate goal.

India Link:
You're currently coached by Chris Waller, do you plan to stay in LA to train or will you move to Florida to work with Rita Brown?

Mohini: I'm training with Chris, Miss Val [Kondos Field] and the [UCLA] team. I am training on and off at All Olympians with Jim Foody and Galena Marenova and occasionally at Woodward West. I work out the same time as the UCLA girls and I am usually bouncing back and forth from those three clubs. Since training again, I have been training with Chris most of the time. I'm not 100 percent sure where I will end up.

Chris is an excellent coach and I am getting what I need from my coaches. I have three different places to train and many people want to help me. I am very lucky. It is a collective effort from everyone. I am lucky so many people want to help me. Most likely I'll stay out here. A couple girls are training for the Olympics and I'll train with them. Before trials I will probably move to Woodward West and train there primarily leading into the meet.

India Link: What skills are you training? Will you get a new floor routine?

Mohini: I got my old skills back in a couple weeks. It wasn't hard. Let's see, I have been doing a few new things. It seems like the last time I competed was so long ago that it is hard to think of what I was doing then. I have been landing Yurchanko 2 ½'s on vault. I am also doing a Yurchanko half-on layout front off. I am still doing the full-twisting Pak on bars and now dismounting with [a] double-twisting double layout. I am doing a bunch of new stuff on beam-mostly the same skills just in different combinations, nothing too new. I did add a double Arabian dismount. On floor I am doing a running layout front-punch double front. I will use the same routine I had last year. I never had a chance to compete it. It will really all depend on what is needed from me. We'll see when I start going to the camps.

India Link: Do you plan to attend future camps at the ranch?

Mohini: I went to all the camps in 2001. I was supposed to go to camp in October but I tweaked my elbow the day before I was to leave, so I decided to stay home and get healthy. There is no point in me going all the way down there [to] just sit around. It would be pointless.

India Link: Is it tough going to camp with girls who are 10 years younger than you?

Mohini: I haven't been in a year but I never had a problem [before]. I was rooming with Tasha. Actually she was here last weekend on her recruiting trip. I get along with all the younger girls. There are a lot of TOPS girls training at All Olympians, so I am used to it. I don't feel 25! (Laughs)

India Link: When do you plan to be back in competition?

Mohini: I'll be in Classics. I'll do some exhibition at UCLA meets and, depending on what meets the All Olympians do, I'll probably go to a few club meets too.

India Link: What motivates you now?

Mohini: I want closure with the sport. I don't want to ask myself, "What if I would have trained harder, done more routines?" My ultimate goal is to make the Olympic team, compete at the games and bring home a medal. I would be satisfied finishing my career knowing that I gave 100 percent.

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