Farfalle prevent Russian sweep of World titles … again!

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Farfalle prevent Russian sweep of World titles … again!

September 8, 2017

Highlights of the Rhythmic World Championships in Pesaro (ITA)

Last week, the Adriatic Arena in Rossini’s native city of Pesaro was on fire, thanks to the wonderful performances by the world’s best rhythmic gymnasts and the passion of the Italian crowd for their favourite discipline.

While the Averina twins swept the individual titles, the Italian group the Farfalle (the Butterflies) prevented a clean sweep by the Russians by winning the gold medal with 5 hoops. To the delight of the audience of course and just like 2 years ago in Stuttgart where the Italian ladies won the 5 ribbons exercise!

Here are our 6 top picks, in no particular order!

Averina domination

Twins Dina and Arina Averina celebrated their break-out season this year, impressing judges and audience wherever they went. At the Europeans in May they nicely split the 4 individual titles between them. In Pesaro, they upped their game, not only splitting the titles but also being on the podium for each of the 5 events, all-around and the 4 apparatus finals. The sisters went for gold and silver on all but one occasion! Only with clubs did another gymnast manage to disturb the twins party … Katsiaryna Halkina took the silver, leaving Arina in third place.



Their 5 hoops routine obtained the second highest score in qualifications behind the Russians but mistakes with 3 balls and 2 ropes ruined their medal chances in the all-around, bumping the Italian group to fourth place, just like at the Rio Olympics one year earlier. Revenge was sweet though for the Farfalle (the Butterflies) on the last day of the Championships in apparatus finals. Their dramatic and graceful performance to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake was worthy of 18.900, beating the Russians by 2 tenths. Gold for Anna Basta, Martina Centofanti, Agnese Duranti, Alessia Maurelli, Martina Santandrea and Beatrice Tornatore, and the Adriatic Arena up in joyful chaos as the Italians prevent a Russian sweep of the World titles!


Halkina’s delight

On day 1 of these Worlds, Belarussian Katsiaryna Halkina made both finals, placing 4th with hoop and 5th with ball. On day 2 she only made it to the clubs final but what a performance she gave there! The joy displayed throughout the performance, the mastery of the clubs and the fabulously choreographed routine turned into an ecstatic reaction when the score was flashed: 18.050 and the silver medal, the first World medal for the 20-year-old!


Italian style and elegance

The host nation was represented in the individual competition by two first-year seniors who had impressed in the junior Europeans in 2016: Alexandra Agiurgiuculese who turned 16 in January, and Milena Baldassarri who still needs to turn 16, in October. The performances of these 2 young ladies made the entire Adriatic Arena proud. Showing off original routines with cool skills, the girls finished 8 and 9th respectively in the all-around with Agiurgiuculese making 3 apparatus finals and Baldassarri 1. Not bad for the first World Championships, right!

On top of these amazing achievements, Agiurgiuculese was awarded the Longines Prize of Elegance while Baldassarri won the Kabaeva prize handed over by FIG Ambassador –and 2004 Olympic Champion- Alina Kabaeva.


Ashram’s ascent

Until Pesaro, Israel had only won one individual World medal, a bronze with hoop by Neta Rivkin in 2011. Over a period of just 2 days, double European bronze medallist Linoy Ashram managed to triple her country’s medal haul. First she twirled her way to bronze with ribbon, followed by a steady and difficult performance in the all-around to easily secure the bronze medal behind the Averinas. A popular gymnast wherever she goes, and known for unique skills and attitude, Ashram has a bright future ahead.



Russia rules

Taking all individual titles and 2 out of the 3 group titles, Russia remains the one to beat in Rhythmic Gymnastics. The Averina twins we have discussed earlier on but the Russian group is worth a topic on its own. Featuring 3 gymnasts that won the 2016 Olympics –Anastasia Bliznyuk, Anastasia Tatareva and Maria Tolkacheva- there is a maturity combined with drama and difficulty in their routines. These experienced ladies led their newer teammates to two World titles and a silver medal.


Relive all the action of these impressive World Championships via the FIG’s Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAM9Pvp3HzKvIAbAXHxidow