Catching up with … Amina Zaripova (RUS)

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Catching up with … Amina Zaripova (RUS)

May 21, 2015

During the European Championships in Minsk (BLR) UEG caught up with former Russian Rhythmic star Amina Zaripova

Amina was born in the Uzbek Republic of the Soviet Union in 1976 where she started in rhythmic gymnastics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union she moved to Russia and trained with the legendary coach Irina Viner. During her career Amina won 5 World titles, 5 European titles, the 1994 Goodwill Games and finished fourth at the 1996 Olympics. After her retirement, Zaripova did a brief coaching stint in Greece before returning to Russia to coach. She was in Minsk as the personal coach of Margarita (Rita) Mamun.

UEG: Has Rhythmic Gymnastics developed much in recent years?

Zaripova: Yes, of course. Before, in the times of Deriugina and Shugurova, rhythmic gymnastics wasn’t like we see it today. Everything has changed. Someone can like or dislike our sport, but it develops. Today it is rather artistic and full of acrobatic elements. The gymnastics is becoming more technical.

UEG: Is it true that gymnasts start to return to classical music?

Zaripova: No, I don’t think so! Everyone can make their own choice. For example, Mamun. Rita has chosen the music of the great Soviet composer Galina Ustvolskaya. It was specifically written for the famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Yesterday her ball composition was by Argentinian Astor Piazzolla. So some gymnasts choose classical music, some gymnasts choose something else.

UEG: A year and a half ago it was thought that Mamun was the most promising star on the Russian team. Then she was overtaken by Kudryavtseva. What happened?

Zaripova: Rita, together with Sasha Merkulova, was number 4 or 5 on the team so after the retirement of Kanaeva, Dmitrieva and Kondakova, Mamum was next in line. And she took up the place she deserved in the team. And she remains very promising. Rita is a very emotional girl with a theatrical thinking. She always prepares to go out on stage and put on a show. When she was little, we worked on the technical issues so Rita is quite stable. Later it was necessary to find something new, unique and special. We began to look for this. Thank God, today we managed to do this. Yes, we didn’t do well last year at the European Championships, while we were well-prepared. Rita made quite stupid mistakes in the exercise with the hoop and was only in 19th place. Then she made similar mistakes in the exercise with clubs. I hope that we will succeed in this tournament. The previous World Championships was rather good for us. And now we have a great chance to win. (Russia ended up winning the team competition, and Mamun took the European title with hoop and silver with ball)

UEG: What are your expectations for the Olympic Games?

Zaripova: The dream of every athlete is to perform at the Olympics. Everyone want to become a winner in the greatest event on earth. I think that the Russian and Belarussian gymnasts will be successful. I’m sure that Belarussian Melitina Staniouta will be in excellent shape for the Games. Of course, we are competitors on the carpet but in real life we are good friends.

Thanks to the volunteers of the press center for this interview!