As already reported in a former edition of Sync Up, Maya Gurbanberdieva underwent shoulder surgery in December and is out for the season. On February 7 and after much teasing on Instagram, it was announced that Olesya Platonova would replace her in the mixed duet with Aleksandr Maltsev in the meantime.
A frequent competitor at Russian nationals and the Russian Cup with her club team in Moscow, Platonova is also a former member of the Russian junior national team. The 18-year-old most recently competed at the 2019 Junior European Championships and won gold in technical team, free team and free combination.
She was also a member of the free combination routine that took gold at the European Cup and at the FINA world series leg in Kazan last year.
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Platonova will be Maltsev’s fourth duet partner in five years. He swam with Darina Valitova in 2015, who is now retired and a performer at Cirque du Soleil’s O, for a gold and a silver at the world championships . Michaela Kalancha followed in 2016 (two golds at the European Championships) and 2017 (one gold and one silver at the FINA World Championships). Maya Gurbanberdieva came in for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, where the pair won both gold medals in the technical and free mixed duet events at the European and world championships.
Maltsev and Platonova will be preparing to defend their titles at the 2020 European Championships in Budapest in May.
As luck would have it, Platonova and Gurbanberdieva used to be club teammates a few years ago. As for Gurbanberdieva, she has already announced she plans on returning back to the event whenever fully recovered and healthy.