Former Buckeye Raj Bhavsar and Paul Hamm to compete for U.S. team

COLUMBUS, Ohio Miles Avery, Ohio State men’s gymnastics head coach, will serve as head coach of the U.S. team at the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships March 28-30 in San Jose, Calif. Avery, who is in his 11th season at the helm of Ohio State, will guide the squad consisting of Paul Hamm, former Buckeye Raj Bhavsar (2000-03) and Alexander Artemev from the U.S. Senior National team.

Teams competing at the international meet include Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the United States, all of whom have already qualified their teams or gymnasts for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In addition, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Peru and Singapore will also be competing at the Pacific Rim Championships.

Hamm, the 2004 Olympic all-around champion, trains under Avery in Columbus at Ohio State’s Steelwood Athletic Training Facility. In his first two competitions back from time off to finish his undergraduate degree at Ohio State, the Waukesha, Wis., native won all-around titles at both the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge and the 2008 Tyson American Cup.

Bhavsar, who was an alternate on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team while training under Avery, finished second in the all-around and rings, first on vault and third on parallel bars at the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge in February. At Ohio State, the Houston, Texas, native was a two-time NCAA champion, including a victory in the all-around in 2002.