Alex Shatilov .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Alex Shatilov hopes to win a sixth career medal at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montpellier, France, this weekend, as he embarks on the long trail to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The 28-year-old has scaled the podium in each of his past five appearances at the European Championships, winning bronze medals in the floor event in 2009, 2012 and 2014, a silver in 2011 and a gold in 2013. He missed the competition in 2010 through injury.
In an attempt to increase his chances of claiming a medal at the Olympics next year, Shatilov has put together a new, more difficult, floor drill, which he will be debuting in a major competition in Montpellier. Should he manage to complete it without major mishaps he will be able to record a higher result than in the past. However, the increased level of difficulty also means there is a greater chance of making mistakes, which could end up costing him dearly.
Shatilov is optimistic his gamble will pay off eventually, hopefully already in Montpellier.
“I feel great with the new drill,” said Shatilov, who will take part in the qualifiers on Thursday with the aim of finishing in the top eight and progressing to Sunday’s final. “I decided to take the risk of trying the new drill out in every competition.
“I already felt pretty comfortable in my most recent event in Slovenia last week and I think I could even increase the level of difficulty a little more. My ultimate goal is to win an Olympic medal and for that to happen you need to do everything, including taking risks at the European Championships.”
Shatilov is one of eight Israelis competing in Montpellier.
Tzuf Feldon, Gaya Giladi and Ofir Netzer opened their account in the women’s qualifiers on Wednesday, with Artem Dolgopyat, Eyal Glazer, Moran Yanuka and Andrey Medvedev to take part in the men’s qualifiers on Thursday.