Welcome to Raluca Haidu Online, dedicated to the talented Romanian Artistic Gymnast Raluca!
Raluca is the Bronze Medallist on the beam and with her team at the 2010 European Championship. She also won the Bronze in the All Around at the 2011 Glasgow Greand Prix. Raluca competed with her team at the 2010 World Championship, finishing in 4'th place and in 9'th place in the All Around.
You may also recognize her from the 2004 documentary "Secret of Deva", where "Pitic" was one of the main characters in.
Check around this website to learn more about Raluca!
Romania in Final Warm Up for Europeans
On Saturday, France will welcome junior and senior squads from Romania for a dual meet in the northwestern city of Cholet. World medalist Youna Doufournet headlines the French lineup, which will go head-to-head with Romania's top team: Diana Bulimar, Diana Chelaru, Raluca Haidu, Larisa Iordache, Sandra Izbasa, Catalina Ponor, and Amelia Racea.
Izbasa, who missed the 2011 Worlds with a sore Achilles' tendon, is training for the all-around again, said coach Octavian Bellu.
"Sandra is training normally on all four events", Bellu told a Romanian newspaper. "As this European championships is not for the individual all-around, we will decide shortly before the competition which events Sandra will compete".
Though several nations will challenge for medals in Brussels, Russian remains the team to beat, Bellu said.
"Basically there is no change in this regard", he said. "It's clear that Russia will be our biggest adversary".
Source: International Gymnast Magazine Online
SENIORS Mira Boumejmajen Manon Cormoreche Clara Della Vedova Youna Doufournet Anne Kuhm Valentine Sabatou Sophia Serseri Coaches: Eric Demay Cecile Demay
Andreea Raducan: Diana, you´ve just come back from the American Cup but you are down with the flu now. Are you happy with your performance there?
Diana Chelaru: I´m not very happy, I didn´t do my routines the way I would have wanted to. I hesitated while I was hoping to do better. But these things happen, I will work harder to try to do better next time.
Andreea Raducan: Is there any particular apparatus where you feel you still have work to do?
Diana Chelaru: Bars and beam were problematic. I still need to work here and get more confidence. The coaches will tell me what I need to change and where I would need to put more work.
Andreea Raducan: What do you think needs to change in your attitude to get the confidence you were talking about?
Diana Chelaru: I don´t know, maybe be more relaxed. I get a bit tight in competition and this doesn´t happen in training. I get nervous and this is why things didn´t go so well. I always have nerves on these two events.
Andreea Raducan: Even though it didn´t go as planned, you did get to see the other rivals. Do you think you could win over them?
Diana Chelaru: They are strong gymnasts, but we are strong as well. The skills are not new, we have already seen them in competition. With a lot of work and consistency everything will probably be ok.
Andreea Raducan: Diana, we haven´t seen each other in a while. How is training going?
Diana Bulimar: Yes, we haven´t seen each other for a long time. It´s going good, I hope to have improved after Tokyo and that everything will be much better.
Andreea Raducan: Any health issue? Were you able to follow the normal training schedule?
Diana Bulimar: No, I followed a normal program. Everything was ok.
Andreea Raducan: I shouldn´t even ask about vacations because there weren´t any, right?
Diana Bulimar: Yes, that´s right.
Andreea Raducan: What competitions will you be going to before the European Championships?
Diana Bulimar: I will be doing bars and floor in Cottbus.
Andreea Raducan: At what apparatus do you think you have a chance to medal?
Diana Bulimar: I would hope in the team competition, it is there where we are stronger. I also hope to medal on floor.
Andreea Raducan: Floor is your favorite?
Diana Bulimar: Right now, yes. I´m not saying I don´t like the others but this is where I feel more comfortable.
Andreea Raducan: Ama, how is training going?
Amelia Racea: I am slowly getting myself together after a break – I had back problems. I am having a bit of a hard time now but I´ll be fine.
Andreea Raducan: How long was the break?
Amelia Racea: One month.
Andreea Raducan: It´s pretty long for us, right?
Amelia Racea: Yes, especially since I usually recover slowly, it´s more difficult.
Andreea Raducan: You´ve grown a lot in a short time, was it difficult to adapt the routines and the technique?
Amelia Racea: Yes, it was difficult, I am pretty slow so yes, it was difficult.
Andreea Raducan: Do you still have health issues or you are now recovered?
Amelia Racea: No, I am healthy now.
Andreea Raducan: You would like to compete now, do you know what is your next competition?
Amelia Racea: I think I will be in Cottbus.
Andreea Raducan: Pitic, how is training going?
Raluca Haidu: From my point of view, it´s going well. We are trying harder to improve.
Andreea Raducan: I understand you are on schedule. Do you already have the routines you are going to perform in competition?
Raluca Haidu: More or less. We still have to add skills on every event but we are getting there.
Andreea Raducan: I´m sure you want to get to the Olympics. Are you curious to know what is the atmosphere there? Have the girls - Sandra, Catalina and Gabi - already told you about it?
Diana Bulimar: Yes, they´ve told me about it but I´d like to see and feel it for myself.
Andreea Raducan: Is there a rivalry amongst you? We are having fewer gymnasts now but I still think there is a sort of competition between you to make the team....
Diana Bulimar: I can´t say there is rivalry but each one of us is fighting for a spot in the team.
Andreea Raducan: So there is rivalry?
Diana Bulimar: Yes (laughs), but it doesn´t have to be visible.
Andreea Raducan: It´s fair play...
Diana Bulimar: Yes, exactly.
Andreea Raducan: Good luck Diana!
Diana Bulimar: Thank you.
Andreea Raducan: When you have a relaxing moment, do you ever think about how would your best day at the Olympics look like?
Diana Chelaru: How it would look like?
Andreea Raducan: For example, on what apparatus you would start, where would the apparatus be placed, I don´t know...
Diana Chelaru: No, I don´t have a problem with that.
Andreea Raducan: It doesn´t matter on what apparatus you start?
Diana Chelaru: No, it´s not a problem. I´ve started on each one in different competitions and it doesn´t bother me. If I were to choose, it could be floor. I don´t think about where they are placed and I don´t think I would change anything.
Andreea Raducan: How about a gold medal in the team competition?
Diana Chelaru: Everyone wants a medal at the Olympics, especially if we are talking about gold. But for such result you need to put in a lot of work.
Andreea Raducan: Where do you think you can medal in the individual finals?
Diana Chelaru: On floor. I´ve done better here compared to the other apparatus and it´s the one I like most. This is why I probably do better here. It´s clear that I want more, to do more skills...
Andreea Raducan: What do you think about the Olympics? How do you think the atmosphere will be?
Raluca Haidu: I think it´s nice but there are a lot of nerves.
Andreea Raducan: Have you already asked the girls?
Raluca Haidu: Yes, I have. They told me it´s like Worlds....
Andreea Raducan: What is your best apparatus? Where do you think you could bring in a good score?
Raluca Haidu: Vault and bars.
Andreea Raducan: They are your favorite?
Raluca Haidu: Yes.
Andreea Raducan: If you were to choose, on which do you think you could medal?
Raluca Haidu: On bars. I don´t have a second vault.
Andreea Raducan: How big is the rivalry between you when we are talking about making the Olympic team?
Raluca Haidu: The desire is strong, we all want to get there. But we´ll need to see which one of us makes it there....
Andreea Raducan: Do you know what competitions you will be in before May?
Catalina Ponor: For now, only the Cottbus World Cup. We won´t have the final routines there but it´s an important checkpoint for me.
Andreea Raducan: Do you still want to add any skill or do you think you already have the finalized routines on beam, vault and floor?
Catalina Ponor: I am slowly getting the consistency and losing the nerves I had. I hope to improve, this Olympics is very important to me as I don´t know if I will continue after that. I really want to see the team up there...
Andreea Raducan: You´ve managed to take the pressure off the girls while making them aware about the importance of the up-coming competitions...
Mariana Bitang: I think it´s important for the viewers to understand that we took over the majority of these girls pretty late, at an age when it´s very difficult to change behaviors and characters. It´s probable that we can make a difference for Larisa, because she came in at the same age you did. At her age you can mold the rules, the desire for results. Training this group of gymnasts is a bit different because they are really unwilling to change, they don´t want to change the way they are and the way they train at this point. This is why we don´t see huge improvements from year to year, like we used to see before. But we hope 2 or 3 will do well both at the Europeans and at the Olympics.
Dragos Barzu: Gymnastics is a tradition in Buzau, it represents Buzau in national and international events. There are really good teachers and coaches here. They have learned everything here and they have left for other countries. This school is famous also because we hold many competitions here, for the support we get from the local authorities. Gymnastics is a difficult but beautiful sport. Those who do gymnastics have the possibility to understand art and beauty.
Andreea Raducan: Gabi, I was looking at your photos in the gym and you were such a young kid.
Gabriela Dragoi: Yes, I was 16 at Beijing.
Andreea Raducan: How was Beijing for you? Going to the Olympics is important for any athlete and you already did that. You also won a bronze medal with the team. Would you like to repeat that experience?
Gabriela Dragoi: Yes, I´d like to do that but if we won more than a bronze medal it would be great.
Andreea Raducan: Do you feel the pressure, is training getting harder now?
Gabriela Dragoi: There is pressure because we want to push harder, but not inside the team. We support each other.
Andreea Raducan: You are a team...
Gabriela Dragoi: Yes.
Andreea Raducan: What is your favorite apparatus?
Gabriela Dragoi: Bars and beam.
Andreea Raducan: Have you talked to Catalina? Do you share your experience with the younger gymnasts who have not been to the Olympics yet?
Gabriela Dragoi: Yes, we tell them it´s just like any other competition. You get the same nerves and the same rivals. You just have to do your thing.
Camelia Robu: When we spotted little Gabi Dragoi we thought she was it. We could finally send a Buzau gymnast to the Olympics. She worked hard and we worked hard, Costica Clinciu and I. We started working with her when she was 7. It was difficult, she went to the Onesti Junior team first and then made it to Deva. I kept telling her that she would make it, that she could not give up until she got to the Olympics. She didn´t even dare to dream about this. She told me that if I hadn´t pushed her so much, she wouldn´t have actually wanted it that bad. It finally happened, she went to Beijing and came third with the team. She saved the team´s honor by making the beam final where she finished 5th. She won the Europeans with the team and was third on beam. She finished 4th with the team at Worlds but it was before going into surgery on her foot, she was not very well prepared then.
Andreea Raducan: Dana, Gabi Dragoi comes from Buzau, just like you. Did you ask her about her experience in Beijing?
Dana Andrei: When I joined the Deva team, this was the first thing I asked her. This helped me and I hope to get to London as well.
Andreea Raducan: Is this something you want, to make the team?
Dana Andrei: With all my heart.
Andreea Raducan: What are your strongest events?
Dana Andrei: I hope to help the team on bars and floor, vault...
Andreea Raducan: Have you had any health issue so far?
Dana Andrei: No, I trained normally.
Andreea Raducan: Do you feel any pressure?
Dana Andrei: Yes, it´s normal. The rivalry is stronger, each one of us is fighting to get to the Olympics, it´s the most important thing for us.
Andreea Raducan: It´s nicer to go to competition than to train, right?
Larisa Iordache: Yes, especially when you are well prepared.
Andreea Raducan: How are the girls doing in Geography? Georgeta Manolache: They are doing pretty well. What we try to do is teach them general things as they belong to different years and what they are supposed to learn is different. We are trying to bring everything together so that each one of them understands.
Andreea Raducan: Do you think they pay more attention to the places they go to after what you teach them here? Georgeta Manolache: Yes, of course.
Andreea Raducan: Have they told you about the places they´ve already been to? Georgeta Manolache: No, they are too young yet. The older girls have seen more.
Andreea Raducan: Do you notice when they are still focused on the training or are too tired after trainings? Georgeta Manolache: We take it easy on them anyway because we know what training implies. They put in a lot of effort to be able to do both and I admire them a lot for their strength. They don´t do what the other kids normally do, they don´t have a normal childhood.
Andreea Raducan: Larisa, you´ve just come back from the American Cup, you are now at school and you are about to go to the next training. Aren´t you tired? Larisa Iordache: I am tired, but this is worth it. This doesn´t matter if you want to be a champion.
Andreea Raducan: Do you have a favorite subject? Larisa Iordache: I like Math. I like the others too...
Andreea Raducan: Diana, Larisa is the youngest in the group, do you help her along? Diana Bulimar: Yes, of course we do. She had an important test last year and we helped her with her homework.
Andreea Raducan: Pitic, do you support each other? I noticed there´s another group of older girls. Do you ask them for advice with school? Raluca Haidu: Yes, we do. If I can help, I do help. We support each other.
Andreea Raducan: What do you like about school? Raluca Haidu: I don´t have any favorite subject, I like them all.
Andreea Raducan: Do you appreciate the effort your teachers make for you? You are part of a special class... Raluca Haidu: Yes, we really appreciate that and we want to thank them for it.
Andreea Raducan: We joined the girls at school to try to understand what discipline - having a clear schedule you need to respect - means. How is their training going along? Mariana Bitang: As you well know, from my point of view they can always do better. Basically, some of them are on schedule. Unfortunately, we had this problem with Sandra...She is away now for another check but we hope to receive good news and have her start working again. She says she is ok now, she can´t wait to get going. Not having been careful for a split of a second cost her 10 training days and you have to go back to what you were working on one month ago. But this is how elite sport goes, these things happen...We hope we won´t see many cases as this one. There are girls who are on schedule and are very close to what we expect of them and others who are farther away. The difference is made by their desire.
Andreea Raducan: You are a role model for the younger ones, they´ve told me they come to you when they have problems.... Catalina Ponor: Yes, they do. I want to be a role model for them because I am experienced and I am at an age when I can see and understand things differently.
Andreea Raducan: Undoubtedly, everyone is wondering who is going to be part of the Romanian team for the London Olympics. We support you and we are very interested in knowing more about your road to the Games, the training stages, your preparation for the Europeans. How is your training going along? Catalina Ponor: It´s slowly going along. We try to add in difficulty every day and to go back to what gymnastics really means and what it meant before. We have a couple of check points with the Europeans and the World Cups. We´ll have to analyze the results there to see what might happen at the Olympics.
Andreea Raducan: Sandra really scared us, everyone was saying her injury was serious. I understood it was not serious after all, she just needs a couple of days off and then she can start working again. Mariana Bitang: Sandra had a pretty serious injury in 2009 but we were not working with her then. That injury left a mark and every time you fall you remember that moment. In this case it was more the scare than the real injury. We consulted one of the best Romanian doctors - you know him very well as he saw you many times as well. We completely trust his judgment, but we sent her to Viena to try to speed things up. The diagnosis was the same and everything is fine now: Sandra feels ok but we don´t want to hurry into anything. We know the difference between being fully recovered and working in permanent pain until the Olympics for having hurried. We´d rather she waited a couple of days until she is fully recovered.
Catalina Ponor: You have to push even harder when you feel you cannot do it anymore. Results will then follow.
Andreea Raducan: You´ve just got back from the American Cup with a bronze medal. I understood you were not even nervous? Larisa Iordache: I was nervous, but I tried to look at it from a positive angle. I did win a bronze medal but I want gold.
Andreea Raducan: Did you feel you had really well prepared rivals? They are experienced gymnasts while this is your first Senior year... Larisa Iordache: It doesn´t matter this is my first Senior year because I have been training with the Seniors. I will try to be even better.
Andreea Raducan: Do you feel any pressure knowing that the gymnastics team has always come back with medals? People want you to keep the flag up and put their hopes in you for the Europeans and the Olympics. Does this put more pressure on you or does this motivate you to achieve great results? Larisa Iordache: I feel some pressure, but not too much. I really want to bring Romania on the podium, the fact that people trust me and put their hopes in me is motivating.
Andreea Raducan: Mrs. Mariana told us earlier today that you did not perform all the skills you plan to perform. What are you working on? Larisa Iordache: I want to add one skill on every event to increase in difficulty. And also to improve execution.
Andreea Raducan: Except the All Around, because I know you are looking to medal there, what is the apparatus that can bring you a gold medal at the Olympics? Larisa Iordache: I really want to believe that beam is the one.
Andreea Raducan: Is beam your favorite? Larisa Iordache: Yes.
Andreea Raducan: What is your relationship with the girls who have already been to the Olympics? Like Catalina, Sandra, Gabi Dragoi...Do you ask them about that? The atmosphere at the Olympics is different from the one at a World Championship for example... Larisa Iordache: Yes, I have already asked and I can´t wait to see how it is. I hope to make the team, I really want to be there. I did ask but I really want to find out by myself. We get along well, we support each other. You don´t notice they are older because they help us a lot, they offer advice, we talk a lot. The fact that we are a team makes me happy.
Tare! Magazine no. 3 had finally appeared in the Christmas evening as a beautiful present for the ones who love Romanian Gymnastics. You can find there interesting intervies, articles and a gallery with photos from the National Championships held in Onești and the World Championships in Tokyo.
Today the girls had their first official training on podium, which has gone quite good so far, the girls need to get used with the equipment and I hope everything will be ready until the contest starts.
Octavian Bellu for Gymnastics Examiner:
"I think it was a good touch, the first time in the hall I expect a lot of things from gymnasts with big experience like Cătălina Ponor and Amelia Racea. For the newcomer like Diana Bulimar, the small one who comes in the team, I expect it is more... and I hope to be OK in the moment of qualification."
The Romanian Women gymnastics team received a blow before the World Championships in Japan.
Sandra Izbaşa didn't left to Tokyo, where the World Championships will be held between 7th - 16th of October, accusing pain in her right foot, the same leg she suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury in 2009.