Bulgaria, Russia and Italy earn a World title each plus their Olympic ticket

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Bulgaria, Russia and Italy earn a World title each plus their Olympic ticket

September 18, 2018

Competition report of the group competition at the 36th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Sofia (BUL)

With a direct ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at stake for the three medal-winning countries in the group all-around competition, the tension was palpable in Sofia. Over the two routines, one with 5 hoops and the other with 3 balls and 2 ropes, Russia showed its strength yet again, winning its seventh consecutive gold medal by posting the two highest scores of the day, both surpassing 23 points. "Tonight we are very happy that we did almost all our elements very well, and we are very glad for this gold medal,"Maria Tolkacheva said. The ever-popular Italian group took silver, performing with outstanding emotion and passion to music of the ‘Swan Lake’ with 5 hoops and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ with three balls and 2 ropes. "We are very, very happy," Martina Centofanti said. "Our goal was Olympic qualification but today we won the silver medal so we are so, so happy. It's very beautiful because our parents and our friends are here for us, so it's a very beautiful emotion." The Golden girls of Bulgaria thrilled the crowd with their dynamic and creative routines, showing very different styles in both exercises. Second after the first routine, the girls dropped to third after a lost hoop required them to use the replacement. Bronze medal and Olympic qualification but mixed feelings altogether as Laura Traets explains: "We are feeling a little bit sad because we made some mistakes."

In the apparatus finals, a gold medal to Bulgaria (5 Hoops) and Italy (3 Balls + 2 Ropes) each, put an end to Russia's domination at these World Championships. Bulgaria’s Golden Girls, left disappointed after a mistake in the all-around, refocused on the task at hand, not wanting to let down the thousands of fans who have supported them loudly and enthusiastically. Performing to a Bulgarian melody to tell a folklore story, the girls impressed and scored a massive 23.300, the highest mark of the group competition in Sofia. "It's amazing," Traets said. "All these feelings are absolutely amazing, and now we are world champions with 5 Hoops!" Japan were thrilled with the silver medal while Italy fell to third after a mistake in their otherwise outstanding rendition of Swan Lake.

With 3 balls and 2 ropes, the Italian Farfalle (‘butterflies’) flew to gold, earning the top difficulty and execution scores in the final. "It's simply amazing," said Alessia Maurelli, the team captain. "We worked hard, we knew what we needed to do and we did it." Russia earned the silver medal while Ukraine surpassed Japan by just 0.050 to clinch the bronze medal for a routine in their trademark classical style.




1. Russia 46.300

2. Italy 44.825

3. Bulgaria 42.050



5 hoops

1. Bulgaria 23.300
2. Japan 22.800
3. Italy 22.550


3 balls and 2 ropes

1. Italy 22.550 
2. Russia 22.200 
3. Ukraine 21.400