Passionate fans added colour to the weekend in Guadalajara

1b.jpg

Passionate fans added colour to the weekend in Guadalajara

June 7, 2018

Highlights of the 34th Rhythmic Europeans in Guadalajara (ESP)

After three days of intense competition, the 2018 Rhythmic Europeans have come to an end. As we look back on a historic competition in which new all-around champions were crowned and a new generation of stars emerged, let’s talk you through our highlights … in no particular order!

 

In awe of the Averina sisters

At last year’s European Championships twins Arina and Dina Averina divided the apparatus titles evenly. At the World Games two months later, Dina won gold with clubs while Arina won the other three titles and at the World Championships in September Dina beat her sister for the all-around crown, and they divided the apparatus titles again between them. Complete domination of the Rhythmic season! And their winning streak continued in Guadalajara! Although their preparation was far from perfect with Arina suffering from injury and having to beat Aleksandra Soldatova for the second entry ticket. However, it was Arina who excelled and Dina who struggled a bit. Their insane difficulty scores keep them on an out-of-this-world level though. Arina easily won her first European all-around while Dina narrowly edge Belarus’ Katsiaryna Halkina for the silver medal.

 

Halkina’s composure

Katsiaryna Halkina produced what probably was the best, most consistent competition of her life. Hitting one routine after the other, her coaches Irina Leparskaya and Liubov Charkashyna jumped for joy at the end of her final exercise. And Katya herself was all smiles. She came close to the silver medal but had to settle for bronze. Still, she was absolutely delighted: “It was an amazing competition, amazing feeling. Sure, it was difficult but I did it. I am so happy!”

 

Russian juniors raise the bar

Rhythmic powerhouse Russia sent 4 of their talented juniors to Guadalajara and all of them showed incredible difficulty, style and technique. Not surprisingly the girls dominated the junior competition, winning all 4 available titles: Polina Shmatko won hoop, Daria Trubnikova was victorious with clubs and Lala Kramarenko reigned both with ball and with ribbon.

 

Poland’s delight

A splendid performance in the qualification with 5 hoops brought the Polish delegation extreme delight: they made it to a European final for the first time in 17 years!

 

The masters of artistry and choreography

The group competition was simply excellent. The gymnasts performed breath-taking exchanges, completely in sync with the music… Story-telling at its very best! Russia outscored Italy in the all-around but the Italians came out on top in the apparatus final with 5 hoops and took silver with 3 balls and 2 ropes. A big mistake in qualifications dropped Bulgaria to third place in the all-around but they got their revenge in event final with 3 balls and 2 ropes where they won the European title! It was also a pleasure to see both Ukraine and Azerbaijan on the podium.

 

Bosnia’s first participation

For Esma Mujacic, who turned 13 just before the competition, it was her first big competition: “Usually I compete in small halls with just my mum and dad there to watch.” For her country, Bosnia Herzegovina, it was the very first time they sent a gymnast to a European Championships. And of course, dad was there to watch as well!

 

Luigi steals the hearts

A popular monkey wherever he goes, UEG mascot Luigi was on fire in Guadalajara! Cheering for all gymnasts, he had his photo taken with many fans and offered support from the couch in the kiss and cry area. Sometimes he had to console disappointed gymnasts, more often he shared in the celebration and got many hugs and kisses. What a lucky monkey! 

 

Viva Espana

How loud can the audience be, do you think? Well, whatever you think, multiply it by 10 and then you have a pretty good idea about the volume of the Spanish fans! They chanted ‘Olé’ in support of the gymnasts’ most difficult element, gave standing ovations for excellent performances and threw cards and gifts to the gymnasts. The vibe was electrifying and gave energy to the gymnasts. Gracias!

 

Record participation

An impressive 40 countries participated in these Europeans. That is 80% of all UEG member federations, and a record! What’s more, 7 countries won medals, showing a nice variety. Just have a look at the medal table:

Country

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

Russia

7

1

1

9

Italy

1

2

1

4

Bulgaria

1

1

2

4

Ukraine

-

4

1

5

Belarus

-

1

1

2

Azerbaijan

-

-

2

2

Israel

-

-

1

1

 

A date in Minsk

These Europeans also served as the one and only qualifying moment for next year’s European Games which will be held in Minsk (BLR) from 21 to 30 June 2019. The top 12 individual gymnasts, but limited to one per country, and the top 8 groups secured a ticket for their country!

 

Last but definitely not least, UEG expresses its gratitude to the Royal Spanish Gymnastics Federation for their dedication and hard work in organising this event, the UEG Technical Committee for their expertise and cooperation, SmartScoring for providing the junior livestream on top of all the result services, all judges who worked long hours for the love of the sport, the volunteers for their enthusiasm, and of course, the gymnasts and coaches for their great performances!