World glory for Russia and Israel

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World glory for Russia and Israel

April 18, 2018

Highlights of the World Championships in Acrobatic Gymnastics in Antwerp (BEL)

The beautiful Belgian city of Antwerp hosted the 26th World Championships in Acrobatic Gymnastics, from 13 to 15 April. In those three action-packed days, history was written for several European countries, injury took some favourites out of contention and new faces emerged out of the shadows.

Read our highlights below … in no particular order!

 

Europe takes it all

With 5 world titles for Russia and 1 for Israel, all World titles went to European nations. In fact, only 4 medals of the 18 available went to non-European countries: the Democratic Republic of Korea won two silver medals (women’s pair and men’s pair) while China clinched silver in the men’s group final and bronze in the women’s group competition.

Queen Marina goes for the hattrick

There’s no doubt in the world that Marina Chernova is one of the most accomplished acro gymnasts out there. Let’s just be honest, she is the most accomplished one! Having won her first World title 4 years ago in Levallois (FRA) with Revaz Gurgenidze, the petite Russian has since then partnered with Georgiy Pataraya and they have been unstoppable! The impressive pair won three titles at the 2015 European Championships and the inaugural European Games, the World title in 2016, and last year they added the World Games gold and another three European titles to their collection. In Antwerp, they were again in a league of their own, outscoring the entire field in both difficulty and execution. With a massive score of 30.640, Chernova successfully completed her World hattrick: “Each medal has been different, each medal has been good. There are different emotions but they are very big each time.” Although she has won it all, several times even, the 22-year-old doesn’t plan on stopping yet: “I’m very tired but we want to continue.”

 

Historic gold for Israel men’s group

Second two years ago in China, Israel’s men’s group went fully for gold in Antwerp. “We have been thinking about this every day for two years,” base Daniel Uralevitch said. In an outstanding final the Israelis performed last. Their newly choreographed gave the spectators goose bumps. Emotions ran high when the gymnasts finished their incredible routine and even higher when the score flashed. The first ever World title for Israel! And a fantastic reward for the four men that have a whole new artistry standard in acro. “This opens doors in Israel in every way, it’s history, it says that anything is possible and that Israel is on the map in Acro. All the time we have been quite close to them (China) so we knew it was possible to do it. We were just waiting for the score to see if the judges agreed with us and today they did.”

 

Belgium’s redemption

Plagued by a string of bad luck, hosts Belgium first lost Vice-European Champions Noémie Lammertyn and Lore Vanden Berghe, in what would have been their last competition together, after top Noémie broke her foot in training. Then qualifications didn’t goes as planned for their top medal contenders Kilian Goffaux and Robin Casse and a pyramid of their men’s group collapsed, ruining their chances at a team medal. The gymnasts admitted that the pressure got to them. In the finals however, Belgium got their redemption. The audience simply adored the Michael Jackson routine of the four men. Although their score wasn’t enough for a medal, an excellent 5th place and a way to the heart of many fans was their reward. The highlight for team Belgium came quite unexpectedly from the new senior mixed pair Marte Snoeck and Bram Roettger. With a personal best of 29.180 they clinched the bronze medal and the Lotto Arena exploded! “I don’t think I have ever heard a noise like it, when the score came out,”Roettger said. “I can’t believe it, we have never even come close to this score.”

 

10 in a row for Russia

Russia returned home with the World team title for an impressive tenth time in a row! While other countries are getting more and more creative, the Russian dominance doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Israel is rising fast though, taking the silver medal in Antwerp, their best performance. Belarus claimed the bronze.

 

The next European Championships in Acrobatic Gymnastics will be held in October 2019 in Holon (ISR)!

 

Photos: FIG