World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships 2014 : the European’s almost unbeatable...

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World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships 2014 : the European’s almost unbeatable...

July 21, 2014

Nearly full marks for Europe after winning 13 of the 15 possible medals during the World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships held in Levallois/France from July 10th to 12th, 2014.
184 gymnasts from 21 nations, 13 of them representing the European continent, competed in one of the 5 ACRO categories, i.e. Men’s Pairs, Women’s Pairs, Mixed Pairs, Women’s Group and Men’s Group. 
 
Men’s Pairs
The Russian Pair composed of Konstantin Pilipchuk and Aleksei Didchenko, always medallists since the 2006 WCh and the 2007 ECh, came to Levallois with the firm intention to defend their title; they did not fall short of their reputation and won the supreme title with 28.285. 
The Belarus Pair composed of Ilya Rybinski and Yauheni Novikau, third at the 2013 ECh improved their performance and ended on the second step of the WCh podium with 28.120 (difficulty and artistic values slightly below their Russian rivals). Bronze went to the British Kieran Whittle and Farai Bright-Garamukanwa; this was a real surprise even for the young pair as they did not expect to win a medal at these WCh; they came mostly to gain experience and as they take pride in a job well done, they ended with a great 27.025. 
 
Women’s Pairs
Eline Smedt and Nikki Snel from Belgium won the gold medal far ahead of the Russians Valentina Kim and Elizaveta Dubrovina. They won this title they so hoped for with the score of 28.525, before their possible retirement, which until now neither of them has confirmed. 
The superb performance realised by Claire Philouze and Lea Roussel allowed France to leave these World Championships with a historic bronze medal, as this is the first ever medal in this category won by France and the first ACRO medal since 1989. 
 
Mixed Pairs
Fifth WCh for him and 1st for her; the Russian Revaz Gurgenidze, 28 years old veteran and his partner Marina Chernova won the title for their country for the first time since 2008. For Revaz, this was the first gold medal since 2006. 
The competition was quite tight between the Russians and their rivals Dominic Smith and Alice Upcott, title holder of the World Games and of the 2013 ECh. But the British had finally to accept defeat with 29.520 compared to the Russians’ superb 29.610. 
One of the rare non-European medals, the bronze one went to the Americans Kiley Boynton and Ryan Ward who presented an elegant and excellent exercise (29.360).
 
Women’s Group
After the bronze (men’s pair) and silver medals (mixed pairs), the British fans expected now the gold medal for the Women’s group composed of Millie Spalding, Elise Matthews and Georgia Lancaster. 
The current Vice European Champion beat the Russians Valeriia Belkina, Victoria Ilicheva and Alena Kholod, who were in the lead after the qualifications. Finally, the artistic and inventive Trio from Belgium (Julie van Gelder, Ineke van Schoor and Kaat Dumarey) presented a beautiful performance which allowed them to go home with a bronze medal thanks to their 27,940.
 
Men’s Groups
George Wood, Connor Bartlett, Gareth Wood and Daniel Cook from Great Britain expected the same result, even more though as they dominated the 2014 World Cup. However, they did not take into account the performances and the willpower of the Chinese Tang Jian, Zhou Yi, Wang Lei and Wu Yeqiuyin, current World Champions and motivated to keep their title another year as it seems that the World’s in Levallois were their last chance to perform together. 
 
The Russians Valentin Chetverkin, Maksim Chulkov, Aleksandr Kurasov and Dmitry Bryzgalov, current European championships, won bronze with a solid and difficult exercise (29.350), thus repeating their achievement of 2012 in this category.
 
 
 
 
O. Do Rosario/UEG
Ref. FIG
Photos : cover - Carlos Alberto Matos / FGP / others - V. Minkus/FIG