Double Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina has returned to competitive gymnastics.
Just 10 months after giving birth to her first child, she finished fourth at the Russian national championships in Kazan.
The competition was won by Mustafina’s Rio 2016 team-mate Angelina Melnikova.
Mustafina took time out to start a family after retaining her Olympic uneven bars title at Rio 2016.
She married bobsledder Alexey Zaitsev after returning from Rio and gave birth to their first child, Alisa, last June.
And the 23-year-old returned to training in December with a view to August’s European Championships in Glasgow.
Back in action
In her first event since Rio 2016, Mustafina was third after Thursday’s qualification, level on points with second-placed Angelina Simakova and behind Melnikova.
Aliya Mustafina in action in the Russian championship.😍🤗❤🔥🇷🇺
The Queen has returned stronger 👏👏👏💪🏻🔝 pic.twitter.com/rWBVNdrTmQ
— Team Mustafina (@FanOfMustafina) April 20, 2018
In Friday’s final, she dropped one place to fourth behind Viktoria Komova who won two silvers at London 2012.
But it was definitely a promising comeback for Mustafina.
“This championship was super important for me as I had a long break. With this start I hope to encourage myself to find energy and emotion to move on further.” Aliya Musatfina speaking to www.tatar-inform.ru
On track for Tokyo
Mustafina showed great mental and physical strength ahead of her Olympic debut in 2012.
In April 2011, she tore an anterior cruciate knee ligament at the European Championships.
She returned to action after eight months before winning four medals at London 2012 including gold in the uneven bars.
Mustafina also took floor and all-around bronze, and led Russia to team silver.
“I’ve been able to recover from injuries and I’m wondering whether I can do this after Alisa’s birth. I hope that I can.” – Aliya Mustafina (@musaliya135) on Instagram
At Rio 2016, she claimed another uneven bars title and claimed team silver and all-around bronze.
She now has plenty of time to get into top shape for a third Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.