Italy, Russia golden on final day of Worlds

Stuttgart, September 13, 2015: Russia and Italy split the titles up for grabs in Group competition as the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships came to a close Sunday in Stuttgart (GER).

WIth a gold medal in the Five Ribbons event, Italy ruined a potential Russian sweep of the golds in Group competition. The Russian Group, already gold medallists from Saturday’s All-around final, avenged themselves almost immediately by winning the Clubs and Hoops event.

The Italian Group — Martina Centofanti, Sofia Lodi, Alessia Maurelli, Marta Pagnini, Camilla Patriarca and Andreea Stefanescu — took advantage of their last-up position in the final with the 5 Ribbons, delivering a clean and exceptionally dramatic performance that earned them a standing ovation from the nearly sold out crowd at the Porsche Arena and gold from the judges (17.900 points).

Looking fresh and confident after winning the Group All-around Saturday, the Russians earned a 17.850 for their Ribbons performance, which included a higher execution score from the judges. But the Italians trumped them on difficulty, the difference being enough for gold.

The Russian Group — Diana Borisova, Daria Kleshcheva, Anastasia Maksimova, Sofya Skomorokh, Anastasia Tartareva and Maria Tolkacheva — returned to center stage less than half an hour later after a solid performance with the Hoops and Clubs (18.125) to win the final event, just 0.025 ahead of the surcharged Italians (18.100).

Japan surprised to take bronze with the 5 Ribbons (17.366), the country’s first medal at a Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships since 1975. Bulgaria, the only Group to come within striking distance of the Russians in the overall competition, took bronze with the Clubs and Hoops (17.866) to go with their silver from the All-around competition.

Russia emerges as the big winner of this 34th World Championships, taking eight of the nine gold medals available. —- FIG

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