Kiev – Ukraine/FIG Office, August 26, 2013: Even though Ukraine is hosting a Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships for the first time this year, the Sports Palace in Kiev is not unknown to the international Rhythmic community. Every year since 1992 the famous Deriugina School, run by the mother and daughter team of Albina Deriugina (head coach) and Irina Deriugina (assistant coach), plays host to the biggest Rhythmic Gymnastics competition in the country, the Deriugina Cup.
The prestigious competition has gained great international importance over the years with past Olympic medallists, such as Aleksandra Timoshenko, Oksana Skaldina, Ekaterina Serebrianskaya, Elena Vitrichenko and Anna Bessonova of Ukraine, Alina Kabaeva, Yulia Barsukova, Evgenia Kanaeva and Irina Tschaschina of Russia as well as Belarusians Yulia Raskina and Inna Zhukova, all having taken part in the Deriugina Cup at some point during their careers.
It was at the Kiev Sports Palace arena that 1989 World Champion Aleksandra Timoshenko and 1991 World Champion Oksana Skaldina presented the routines that only months later would bring the Deriugina School gymnasts a Gold and Bronze medal respectively at the Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Over the following years, future Olympic Champion Ekaterina Serebrianska dominated the competitions in Kiev. Deriugina Cup 1996 held special meaning with participants presenting their Olympic programmes and the Deriugina School celebrating its 35th anniversary.
In 1997 the tournament underwent a major and important change. The Grand Prix Organising Committee decided to include Deriugina Cup into the Grand Prix Series, the first such competition on the grounds of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). This change increased the level of competition and ensured participation of the world’s best gymnasts. Elena Vitrichenko of Ukraine, a clean performer and an artist on the rhythmic floor, was an unparalleled leader in the sport from 1997-1999.
In 2000 and 2001, the competition’s most important trophy in the form of a bronze statue was awarded to the celebrated Alina Kabaeva (RUS).
In 2002, Ukraine celebrated a triple anniversary: 10 years of the tournament, 50 years of Rhythmic Gymnastics in Ukraine and the 70th birthday of Albina Deriugina, President of the Ukrainian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation. A substantial number of spectators filling the grandstands of the Kiev Sports Palace were the icing on the cake. An All-around victory was celebrated by 2001 World Champion Tamara Yerofeeva (UKR).
The host country’s Natalia Godunko, 2001 World Team Champion and 2002 World Group Champion, celebrated victory twice at the Deriugina Cup – in 2005 and 2006 – an important stepping stone in the career of the 2005 European Champion.
In 2004, the Sports Palace hosted the Senior Individual European Championships that was won by Russia in the team event and Alina Kabaeva (RUS) in the Individual All-around competition.
Since 2007, the Deriugina Cup has run under the prestigious World Cup label and the supervision of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
A winner in 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009, Anna Bessonova is the absolute record-holder of the Deriugina Cup. One of the most celebrated students of the Deriugina School, Bessonova was Olympic Bronze medallist in 2004 and 2008 and became the World All-around Champion in 2007. Her career took off in Kiev, where she performed in gala events; and it was at the Kiev Sports Palace where spectators witnessed her farewell in 2010.
In 2010 and 2011, All-around victories were celebrated by Daria Dmitrieva and Daria Kondakova of Russia respectively.
Considered as a test event for the World Championships, the 2012 World Cup in Kiev also served as a backdrop for the 80th anniversary celebration of Albina Deriugina. Daria Dmitrieva of Russia and the Group from Italy prevailed at the Individual and Group All-around competitions respectively.
With the beginning of the new Olympic Cycle and many of the Rhythmic legends having retired, the Sports Palace will see new faces during this week’s championships and fans will observe closely who will emerge as the new stars.