Romania's hope of sending a squad to the Rio Olympics ended last Sunday when they missed the top four in the test event, Rio's final qualifier.

Legendary coach Octavian Bellu, who came out of retirement after Glasgow World championship to help the Romanian team to earn a ticket to Rio, said he regrets coaching the national team following the devastating results.

"If someone is going to be scapegoated, I volunteer. No matter how you look at this, Bellu and Bitang are to blame. The result was predictable. These girls who were supposed to go beyond their limits, went there injured, doing treatment for injuries, or coming back from long breaks. Catalina Ponor helped as much as she could. I’ve been saying that things are looking bad since Atlanta. Even in Atlanta we were on the edge. In 2012, if Catalina and Sandra hadn't made a comeback, things would’ve been just as bad" Bellu told AFP.

The now former Romanian coach accused the current gymnasts of not being fully committed to the sport. He believes that they do not love the sport and have no desire of reaching the highest level.

"Together with Mariana Bitang, I wanted to help out, but there wasn’t anyone for us to help. You can’t go on forever with a bunch of girls that made the national team just because they are eligible."

Bellu has warned that if things do not change in the national team, the situation will go from bad to worse.

"Starting from February 17th, I’m retired. We won’t be coming back to the team. I’m sorry we came back now."

He added that he only came back on the request of veteran gymnasts.

Romania finished in 7th place at the test event. Brasil, Germany, Belgium and France have qualified to Rio while Australia and Switzerland serve as reserves.

The Rio Olympics will be the first Games not to include the Romanian women's gymnastic team since 1968.

Written by Gigi Farid


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