Ankle injury ends Joura's aspirations for 2009
Succumbing to an ankle injury which she has carried since the Beijing Olympic Games, two-time national all-around champion Daria 'Dasha' Joura has been forced to put an end to her 2009 campaign.
Regarded by many as Australia’s best female gymnast, Joura will have her right ankle reconstructed in July and will remain in a cast for two months, followed by a stint of rehabilitation.
Due to the required time off to sufficiently heal and then re-build her fitness and technical base, Joura and her WAIS support team have ruled out of all competitions for the year, meaning that she will not defend her national all-around title at the upcoming Australian Championships in Perth from July 8 to 14.
The 19-year-old will also miss the 2009 world championships to be staged in London in October, where she was expected to be an integral member of the Australian team.
A disappointed Joura said the surgery was necessary as the ligament was not healing naturally.
“After Beijing, initially the medical staff decided it was better for me just to wait and let that ligament heal by itself,” said Joura from her home in Perth.
“Usually if they go in and surgically repair that tendon you lose a range of motion further on down the track, which means your ankle is prone to more injury in the future.
“However it’s been nine months now (since the Olympics), and I had an MRI recently and it showed that the deltoid ligament is still completely ruptured.
“Going back to the surgeon, he said that it would be best for me to have an ankle reconstruction to repair that ligament.”
The West Australian gymnast remains hopeful of returning in 2010 at full strength, with the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships and 2010 Commonwealth Games in her sights.
“I’m planning on going into the gym for rehab and slowly starting to build back up the hours.
“Looking on the calendar…the Pacific Rim Championships in April next year… I suppose I can put a red flag on there and see how I go and see if I can prepare for that one.”
Joura originally injured her ankle in podium training just days prior to the commencement of the Olympic competition. Considered a genuine hope to become Australia's first ever individual Olympic medallist in gymnastics, Joura damaged her deltoid ligament when landing a double layout on the floor exercise just two days after arriving in Beijing.
Bravely she battled on, however the injury did not stand up to the rigours of the intense competition, and she completely tore the ligament in the individual qualifying round. Joura went on to compete on the uneven bars in the team final, assisting the Australian team to sixth place, Australia’s best ever result at an Olympic Games.
During her time on the sidelines, Joura will keep herself occupied studying for her first-year exams for her sports science degree and will take on a team management role for her West Australian team at the Australian Championships next month.
In other news, Gymnastics Australia has also announced the four-member team whom will represent Australia at the Japan Cup next month. Beijing Olympians Lauren Mitchell (WAIS/AIS) and Shona Morgan (WGC/VIS/AIS) will join emerging gymnasts Amber Fulljames (QAS/AIS) and Britt Greeley (VIS/AIS) for the July 18 – 20 event.
And at the Moscow World Cup event on Saturday, Australian pommel horse star Prashanth Sellathurai (NSWIS/AIS) has claimed the silver medal, eclipsed in the final by Hungary’s Kristian Berki (HUN). Berki won the gold medal with a score of 15.900, a mere 0.025 ahead of Sellathurai who scored 15.875.