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Fans Defies Judges in Rhythmic Gymnastics Worlds

So the long-awaited 2017 World Championships in Pesaro has concluded over the weekend and all of the participants have surely given it their best shot. Seeing one gymnast or group take over another in the score board and betting on who are going to stay on top in the end was very exciting. The skills and routines showcased are all very exquisite and jaw-dropping. However, there can only be one hailed queen for the elegant sport of rhythmic gymnastics, and that was none other than Russia’s Dina Averina!

On the first day of the competition, the Averina twins from Russia have already taken a gold and a silver each. On the second day, clubs kicked off first and Dina showed just how much she loved the said apparatus by taking the gold for it. Arina, who has a scar on her forehead from having been “kissed” by a club years ago during training, took the bronze—allowing Belaru’s Katsiaryna Halkina a much deserved silver medal for a nice showcase of ambidextrousity even with a slight mishap in the middle of her routine.

Ribbon finals commenced after the clubs, and it wasn’t a surprise when another Averina took the gold, this time Arina, still followed by her identical twin Dina. A lot of RG fans felt bad for Israel’s Linoy Ashram after failing the two apparatus on the first day despite a very good performance, until the second day as she took a bronze for ribbon. She has a really admirable spirit, for she did not let previous mistakes to drag her down and clinch a medal on the last event.

Clubs Podium World Championships 2017
Ribbon Podium World Championships 2017

Going All-Around

The sport and the intensity of the competition have evidently taken its toll on the gymnasts. The women that qualified for the clubs and ribbon finals, as well as the all-around finals made at least one mistake in the all-around. It was understandable, as their physical energy fell lower and lower each day of the competition. However, their spirit only went one way—and that was up!

During the four rotations of group B, the girls’ scores are neck and neck. It wasn’t until the group A started their rotation that some gymnasts are pushed to the bottom of the scoreboard. At the last rotation of group A, the final contenders are definite. It wasn’t one country against another country—it was certain that the competition was between Dina and Arina Averina alone.

Arina’s last routine was hoop. She made one dodgy throw and what looks like a bad bounce. She wasn’t happy with her performance because there is this thing about the Averinas that if they thought they did well, they add a fist pump to their ending pose. That wasn’t how Dina finished her hoop routine, in fact, she looked quite annoyed even though she was leading the score board. Everyone thought that was the deciding point, that if Dina didn’t make any mistake on her ribbon routine, she could easily overthrow her sister and be the World Champion. And Dina did just that! She was beaming and very emotional already at the end of her flawless ribbon routine!

All-Around Podium World Championships 2017

It might still be a little too early to celebrate then, since there are still gymnasts left to perform, but as Dina’s score was announced, Arina was already waiting at the entrance of the backstage next to the kiss & cry. They shared an emotional hug before their coach, Irina Viner-Usmanova, ushered them backstage.

Israel’s Linoy Ashram did quite well on her first three rotations. On the last where she performed clubs, she had a major drop and the arena fell in a deafening silence. Fans couldn’t breathe for a while, because if her score suffered for the drop, USA’s Laura Zeng could steal the bronze. It wasn’t the case though, because Ashram scored 0.100 higher than Zeng! Belarus’ Katsiaryna Halkina and Japan’s Kaho Minagawa then further pushed Zeng below the rankings.

At the awarding ceremony, FIG’s long-time partner Longines gave their Award of Elegance to Italy’s Alexandra Agiurgiuculese.

Fan’s Differing Opinions From Judges

The first to break Russia’s streak was Italy’s very impressive group performance for the 5 Hoops event. The crowd goes wild every time an Italian gets on the floor, and that was expected since most of the audience are Italians, but their screams for the Butterfly group was warranted, as they impressively exchanged one hoop after another, often times even all at once. The show of body and apparatus difficulty by the Italians is just insane. For an inexperienced audience, you wouldn’t know where to look as so many skills are being showcased all at once, but only one thing is evident—everything was flawless.

Needless to say, everyone agrees that Italy deserved that gold for the 5 Hoops.

After that golden performance, the bar was set really high for the groups that are yet to perform. After China performed, Russia just made it 0.200 short of the Italian group due to a slightly weaker execution in their routine, a mistake already made at the beginning. A bounce off of one gymnast’s back was almost not caught by the other. She might have been able to save the hoop, but their score she could not save.

5 Hoops World Championships 2017
3 Balls 2 Ropes World Championships 2017

Meanwhile, the Japanese group, which might be one of the underdogs in the world of rhythmic gymnastics, has really stepped up their game this season. After individual gymnast Kaho Minagawa’s bronze win the previous day, the group really aimed to win as well. They threw one apparatus after another, bounced off the floor or a teammates’ body part, and then caught every single one—this is how they stole another bronze for the 5 Hoops.

The group that fell to the fourth place was the last performer, Bulgaria. Many RG fans, be it on the social medias or during the live event in the Adriatic Arena, feels that maybe Bulgaria’s group deserved more for their 5 Hoops performance. It is evident that this is the crowd’s favorite routine—this may even be the routine of the year for some—and even if they did not win any medal for this, they certainly have won the crowd’s heart.

On the other hand, during the 3 Balls + 2 Ropes event, Japan have surprisingly come up on the first place after their performance, pushing the host country’s representative, the “Farfalle” or Butterfly group who performed ahead of Japan and was first for a short while, into the second position. The Bulgarians performed next, and the crowd booed when their score was announced, even though they are on second, because the live audience felt that Bulgaria should’ve edged over Japan for their spectacular performance. Bulgaria did try for an enquiry, and it was worth it as their difference to Japan was only 0.050, but it was denied, so on the second place they lived.

Everyone has waited for the last performer because they are one of the big names, the Russian group, and they might just change the standings thus far. Based on their records, they can easily overtake Japan’s position coming from the back—and that they did. Even with some syncing problems, they met everyone’s expected outcome and took the gold, knocking Italy entirely off the podium.

This last win was preceded by a win in the all-around groups, making Russia the Group All-Around World Champion, just one gold out of their hands among all competitions. They were followed once again by Bulgaria with just a 0.750 difference. Japan took another highly impressive bronze.

Groups Podium World Championships 2017

What’s Next for RG?

World Championships is one of the biggest events that RG fans are waiting for this year, and it might just be the last this year as well. There is still Grand Prix Brno in Czech, but it wasn’t as huge as a World Championships.

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