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Impressions on the First day of 2017 World Championships in Pesaro!

This year’s World Championships have kicked off in Pesaro on August 20 and would last until September 3. So many things have already happened on the first day of events—qualifications and finals for hoop and ball—and here is a comprehensive depiction of the events, for all the fans that were not able to watch! We did our best to deliver you the accurate happenings, so please enjoy!

Kaho Minagawa World Championships 2017

A Podium Surprise

One of the surprising gymnasts this season was Japan’s elegant Kaho Minagawa. People even go as far as to think that she might just be the Korean Son Yeon-Jae’s replacement on providing diversity to the podium—and it was nice to see a non-Russian, non-Belarusian, non-Bulgarian gymnast up there. While her compatriot Sumire Kita was on the 7th spot, Minagawa took the hoop bronze behind the Averinas and performed the ball while elated on it. However, she was sadly 8th place for ball. We’re pretty sure she was not complaining about that, because her bronze was the first individual medal at a rhythmic gymnastics Worlds since 1975—the first in 42 years! The last medal was a gold won by Hiraguchi Mitsuru on the mentioned year also on hoop.

Aside from Minagawa, it is also worth noting that the Americans gave a surprisingly strong game at the beginning of the competitions as well—although not worthy of the finals podium. They, specifically Evita Griskenas, lead Group A on the first couple of qualification rotations which ensured her spot for the hoop finals where she finished, sadly, on the 8th spot. Laura Zeng, who was the American Champion this year, qualified on ball and finished 6th on finals.

On her first year as a senior, Italy’s Alexandra Agiurgiuculese was also doing quite well! The home crowd is proud of her performances and cheered nonstop for her even though she finished 7th on ball. She shows great potential though, and it is exciting to watch how she would grow to be one of the big names in rhythmic gymnastics throughout the world right now.

Dina Averina World Championships 2017

The Big Guns

The delegation of Bulgaria also suffered an individual World medal drought for quite a lot of years as well. Their last was in 2011, so you can just imagine how the crowd cheered as Neviana Vladinova was in the lead for a while after her ball finals routine. Some sensuality to the performance was evident right there as well, but not as sensual as her compatriot’s ball performance, Katrin Taseva, who unfortunately did not qualify for the ball or hoop finals.

Vladinova was ahead of Israel’s Linoy Ashram who did quite splendidly in the qualifications, she even held the highest score of the day then for her hoop performance (18.600), which raised the bar for her finals performance. During slow motion cuts, it is evident how her every moves are calculated and it is lovely to see the emotion in her face, making her one of the most expressive gymnasts in the competition. Unluckily, Ashram did quite poorly on the finals where she had a missed hoop catch at almost the end of her routine and she fell to the 6th spot. Her ball performance wasn’t at par to her European Championships and Maccabia Games performances as well, as she finished on the 4th place.

Meanwhile, Vladinova was basking on the first spot for ball—that is until the Russian Arina Averina came into the floor and performed with a cheeky expression on her face. Vladinova was further pushed on the bronze spot after the identical twin, Dina Averina, came on and took the silver medal. And that is where the ball podium settled, led by Arina, followed by Dina, and finished by Vladinova.

Russia’s Averina twins, unsurprisingly, almost always led the score board after their performances. Their routines have an unbelievably high difficulty scores, around 10.000, and amazing mastery there. Commentators speculate that their high difficulty scores are their cushion that allows them to sometimes slack on the execution, which scores settle at around 8.000.

Hoop Podium World Championships 2017
Ball Podium World Championships 2017

Other than Linoy Ashram, another gymnast is notably very emotional and expressive during her performances, and that it Belarus’ Katsiaryna Halkina. When longtime fans see her perform, they are transported back to the time when rhythmic gymnasts still had time to show emotions during routines, unlike now where their routines have to be jam-packed with different skills to the point where one can’t even see the gymnast’s face anymore. It was a nice nostalgia.

Halkina’s ball routine is the crowd favorite, they even dubbed it as “poetry in motion.” However, it fell on the 5th spot. Her hoop finals wasn’t that far either, as she finished 4th. Vladinova made an enquiry on the latter apparatus to try and correct her scores just a little bit, but it was denied, ensuring Halkina’s higher position.

And that is all we have for the first day of qualifications and finals at the World Championships 2017 in Pesaro. Be the first to know who wins the Worlds and stay tuned again tomorrow for the news about the qualifications and finals for clubs and ribbons, which is already starting today!

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