Lausanne, August 21, 2013: Elite Rhythmic gymnasts will gather in Kiev, Ukraine, end of the month for the 32nd World Championships that kick off their road to Rio 2016.
The first championships of the Olympic cycle for the discipline bring together 103 Individual gymnasts and 28 Rhythmic Groups from a total of 56 different nations and representing all continents at Kiev’s Sports Palace. The arena with a capacity of 10,000 spectators is known for hosting the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest won by Greece’s “My Number One”. A good omen for the Greek entries?
Held over a period of five days and including Qualifications, an All-around Final and Apparatus Finals for Individuals, as well as a General Competition and Apparatus Finals for Groups, the championships feature a total of eight medal events. A team ranking is not on the programme.
Senior Individual Rhythmic gymnasts compete on Hoop, Ball, Clubs and Ribbon this year, while senior Groups perform exercises on 5×2 Clubs and 3 Balls / 2 Ribbons following a two-year competition cycle. Each federation is entitled to register two Individual gymnasts and one Rhythmic Group with the minimum age for a gymnast being 16 years (born 1997 or earlier).
New and familiar faces
The line-up in Kiev includes famous Rhythmic stars as well as newcomers to the international senior scene and the community is eagerly waiting to see who will follow in the footsteps of Evgeniya Kanaeva who dominated the last Olympic Cycle.
With the retirement of numerous elite gymnasts after London 2012, we will still see ten Olympians competing in Kiev. Among them, Melitina Staniouta of Belarus and Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine being the most successful Individual Rhythmic gymnasts in the post-Olympic period. Staniouta won the Ball and Clubs titles at the recent World Games and finished second in the 2013 FIG All-around, Ball and Ribbon World Rankings, while Rizatdinova won the World Games Hoop Gold, ranks first on Hoop and Clubs and ties with Staniouta in second place in the All-around World Ranking. Both are closely followed by fellow Olympians Yeon Jae Son (KOR), who won the 2013 Asian Championships, Silviya Miteva (BUL), Alina Maksymenko (UKR) and Neta Rivkin (ISR).
Russia’s new kids on the block are 17-year-old Margarita Mamun and first year senior Yana Kudryavtseva, who have both already been very successful this year. Mamun did not only count the highest All-around score and won the Gold on Ribbon at the European Championships this spring, she also topped the All-around as well as the Ball and Ribbon World Rankings. Young Kudryavtseva is the 2013 senior European Champion on Ball and Clubs and is not far behind her compatriot in the World Rankings.
Azerbaijan’s young blood in the form of Lala Yusifova (17) and Marina Durunda (16) have already impressed during this year’s FIG World Cup series and at the Europeans and deserve close attention.
Also keep an eye on China’s Deng Senyue, Djamila Rakhmatova from Uzbekistan, Caroline Rodriguez of Spain and Kseniya Moustafaeva of France!
Leading the rankings in all three categories, Russia is heading to Kiev as the Rhythmic Group to beat, closely followed by Bulgaria and Belarus, while fans of the “Farfalle” cannot wait to see the new Group that succeeds the Italian World All-around title holders.
Also on the programme in Kiev:
Longines Prize for Elegance
Evaluating the emotional appeal extending beyond technical considerations to beauty charm and charisma as well as grace and harmony of the movements, a jury of four experts will decide on the winner of the Longines Prize for Elegance. The prestigious prize that honors the Individual All-around gymnast judged to be the most elegant will be awarded on August 30 and includes a statue by Swiss artist Jean-Pierre Gerber, a Longines watch, as well as a cheque worth US$ 5,000.
Election of the athletes’ representative
On August 30, the Rhythmic Gymnastics athletes’ representative on the FIG Athletes’ Commission will be elected by the athletes’ assembly for the period extending from 2014 – 2017.
Artistry and music workshop
The first in a series of workshops to be presented at World Championships during this cycle will be held for coaches and judges on August 25 and 27 respectively. The purpose of these workshops – held in collaboration with FIG partner Cirque du Soleil – is to improve artistic and musical presentation in women’s Gymnastics.
The championships will kick off on the eve of the first competition day with the official opening ceremony scheduled on August 27 from 7 – 9 pm at the Sports Palace. Competitions take place for Individual gymnasts from August 28 – 30, followed by the Rhythmic Groups, who compete on August 31 and September 1. A gala and closing ceremony will conclude the championships on September 1 from 4:50 – 5:50 pm.