Ponor targets golden return in London

Catalina Ponor, who captured three gold medals at the 2004 Olympics before injury wrecked her hopes of a 2008 repeat, targeted this summer's London Games on Sunday after a European championship starring role.

At 24, Ponor may be a veteran by gymnastics standards, but the Romanian athlete shone at the weekend taking gold on the beam and silver on the floor to add to the team gold she celebrated on Saturday.

"Perhaps everyone else is surprised, but not me," said Ponor.

In Athens in 2004, she won three golds but went into retirement in 2007 before being persuaded to return to a Romanian team which is confident of challenging superpowers China and the US at the London Olympics.

"I missed the sport, the podium, the joy of finishing first, the emotions, all the things you feel when you are competing," she said.

"When I stopped four years ago, I had a problem with my back, I wasn't in form but now I feel stronger than ever."

Six years after her last European title, Ponor is confident of the ability of Romania to shine in London alongside compatriots Sandra Izbasa and Larisa Iordache.

Izbasa, also an Olympic champion, retained her European vault title while 15-year-old Iordache took the title on the floor and silver on the beam.

Romania took four of the five titles on offer with Russia's Viktoria Komova only breaking their grip with victory on the uneven bars.

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