Exciting competition in Moscow marks beginning of Rhythmic Gymnastics season

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Exciting competition in Moscow marks beginning of Rhythmic Gymnastics season

February 24, 2016

Alina Cup for juniors and seniors plus Moscow Grand Prix attract record participation

Moscow was the place to be for all Rhythmic Gymnastics lovers last weekend. With the Alina Cup held at the same time as the Moscow Grand Prix, the rhythmic gymnastics season experienced a kick-start. All eyes were on Moscow, not only to see the seniors in full preparation for the test event in April, the European Championships in June and the Olympics in August, but also to catch a glimpse of a whole new generation of up-and-coming rhythmic talent. The popularity of rhythmic gymnastics in Russia continues to soar, witnessed by huge, enthusiastic crowds, a record participation in the Alina Cup, and Russia winning most titles easily.

Russia entered several senior gymnasts to the Moscow Grand Prix. Notable absentee however was European and World Champion Yana Kudryavtseva. Aleksandra Soldatova proved herself by scoring 18,300 or more with each apparatus to win the all-around with a score of 74,066 and taking gold with hoop and ball before adding a silver medal with ribbon.

Aleksandra Soldatova (RUS)

Margarita Mamun debuted beautiful new routines but mistakes with ribbon and hoop kept her off the all-around podium. With ball, she was sublime, scoring the highest mark of the competition, 18,966. In apparatus finals she redeemed herself, tying Soldatova for gold with ball and winning clubs outright. Twins Arina and Dina Averina looked confident and ready to challenge established competitors Soldatova and Mamun for international assignments. Arina took bronze in the all-around and won the ribbon final, she also took silver with clubs. Georgia’s Salome Pazhava and Belarus’ Melitina Staniouta left Moscow with a bronze medal each, hoop and clubs respectively.  Korea’s Son Yeon Jae confirmed she’s in top shape gearing up for the Olympics where she is aiming for a medal. Taking silver in the all-around here in Moscow plus adding silver hoop, bronze ball and ribbon definitely boosted her confidence.

In the group finals Russia was unbeatable. Both with 5 ribbons (18,050) and 2 hoops and 3 pairs of clubs (18,300) they easily beat Bulgaria and Israel.

The Alina Cup 2016, named in honour of former European, World and Olympic Champion Alina Kabaeva, was a record-breaking edition for juniors with 86 participants from 31 countries! In the team competition the 3 Russian teams came out on top, although only 1 team counts for the rankings. The gold went to Russia-1, Alina Ermolova and junior all-around champion Polina Shmatko. Belarus won silver and Israel bronze. Ermolova lead the qualification on 3 events (rope, hoop, clubs) leaving ball for Shmatko. In the finals Shmatko won ball and Ermolova came out on top with hoop but they left the titles with clubs and rope to Belarussian talent Alina Harnasko.

This weekend the senior individuals and groups head to Espoo (FIN) for the first World Cup stage of the season!