Russians extend their reign in Rhythmic Group competition

Sep 03, 2017 17:14 | Education&Sports
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PESARO (ITA), SEPT 2 
With a group that includes Olympic champions in Anastasia Bliznyuk, Anastasiia Tatareva and Maria Tolkacheva, Russia retained their World All-around title on the first day of Group Rhythmic Gymnastics competition at the Adriatic Arena, taking their sixth gold of the championships, reports FIG.
Intrepid on the carpet, the Russian Group (Anastasia Bliznyuk, Anastasiia Tatareva, Maria Tolkacheva, Evgeniia Levanova, Kseniia Poliakova and Mariia Kravtsova) continued to demonstrate the prowess that made them World All-around champions in 2015 and Olympic champion in Rio last summer. 
Containing drama and difficulty in equal measures, the Group's routines with the 5 Hoops and 3 Balls/2 Ropes earned the highest scores of the competition, lifting the country over 2014 World champion Bulgaria by a comfortable margin. With silver, the young Bulgarian Group (Teodora Aleksandrova, Elena Bineva, Simona Dyankova, Madlen Radukanova and Laura Traets), a different band of gymnasts from those who won bronze in Rio, carry on a tradition of excellence for the country that will welcome the 2018 Worlds.
Japan, on the upswing
The sun is rising over Japanese Rhythmic Gymnastics: With bronze, the Japanese Group's second medal in consecutive World Championships, a new power is beginning to stir. Mao Kunii, Rie Matsubara, Sayuri Sugimoto, Ayuka Suzuki, Nanami Takenaka and Kiko Yokota's achievement, coming 72 hours after Kaho Minagawa earned the country's first individual medal since 1975, signals a country on the ascent as it prepares for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Disappointment for the Farfalle
Performing before their public, Italy's famous Group, the "Farfalle" ("Butterflies") took flight in a graceful performance to "Swan Lake" with the Hoops, but mistakes with the Balls and Ropes ended their hopes for a medal. Much to the disappointment of the Adriatic Arena crowd, Italy finished fourth, just as it did a year ago in Rio. All is not lost for the Farfalle, however: the Group qualified second to Sunday's Hoops final, and will perform again with the Balls and Ropes as well.