Russia's Aliya Mustafina to miss worlds with knee injury

MOSCOW Sat Apr 9, 2011 5:32pm EDT

1 of 2. Aliya Mustafina of Russia receives assistance after falling while competing on the vault at the women's individual all-around final during the Artistic Gymnastics European Championships in Berlin, April 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - World all-around gymnastics champion Aliya Mustafina will not defend her title at this year's championships after tearing knee ligaments, Russia's national team coach said on Saturday.

Mustafina, 16, suffered the injury after a botched landing in the vault at the European championships in Berlin on Friday.

"She has torn cruciate ligaments in her left knee, meaning she'll definitely miss the world championships," coach Alexander Alexandrov was quoted as saying by local media.

Alexandrov said Mustafina would likely have surgery next week in Germany.

Mustafina was a star at last year's world championships in Rotterdam, where she led the Russian women to their first global team title since 1991 before upstaging China's Olympic champion Jiang Yuyuan to win the all-around crown.

This year's world championships are due to take place in Tokyo in October, with the International Gymnastics Federation deciding next month whether Japan will host the competition following the deadly earthquake and tsunami.

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; editing by Alan Baldwin)

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