This year’s 33rd European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships is going to kick off on the 19th of May and would last until the 21st. It is one of the biggest annual competitions in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics and fans all over the world are on the edges of their seats in anticipation of the upcoming duel of only the best gymnasts from 36 federations originating from different countries.
The biggest gathering of senior and junior gymnasts, sport directors, doctors, coaches, and judges—estimated to be at 600—is going to happen at the Papp László Budapest Sport Arena. Every fan has their own favorites, but based on past European Championships and recent competitions, who is bound to win this year’s European Championships in Budapest, Hungary? We have conducted a thorough research to answer this question.
Russian Rhythmic Gymnasts
In light of a legendary Russian gymnast’s 34th birthday last May 12, Alina Kabaeva, who has won the Europeans five consecutive times, it was announced that Aleksandra Soldatova will compete in the hoop, ball and ribbon events—the latter being questionable because everyone thinks Arina’s ribbon routine was so much better. Elsewhere, Dina Averina is going to compete in hoop, clubs, and ribbon while her twin Arina Averina is going to compete in ball and clubs.
Looking back into the recently concluded events from the Grand Prix Series so far, the White Swan Soldatova has collected six gold medals and two silver medals. At the Grand Prix in Marbella where she had a clean sweep, she was notably everyone’s favorite, especially in her ball routine. At the recently finished FIG World Cup, she’s second in the 2017 All-Around World Cup Ranking List with a total score of 95 after winning two gold medals and three silvers. She now has a total of eight gold and five silver.
Soldatova is not alone in the second spot though, because her teammates, the Averina Twins, collected their fair share of gold medals themselves, thus sharing the second spot in the 2017 All-Around World Cup Ranking List.
At the Grand Prix Series, Dina Averina has eight gold and two silver so far. At Desio Italia Trophy, she won two gold. Lastly, she won five gold and five silver in the World Cup. Her total medal collection on the first half of 2017 is 22, mixes of gold and silver.
On the other hand, her twin Arina has collected two silver and three bronze medals in Grand Prix, one each of silver and bronze in Desio Italia Trophy, and five gold medals along with three silver and 1 bronze in the World Cup, for a total medal collection of 16.
It seems the new Code of Points is working very well with the new generation of Russian gymnasts who got promoted in the absence of the now-retired two-time European Champion Yana Kudryavtseva and on-hiatus 2016 Olympic Champion Margarita Mamun.
As you can see in our complete list of European Championships winners, Russia has won the said competition’s Individual All-Around for 11 years consistently, since 1998 to 2016. In the Group All-Around, they also won the gold for eight years straight, from 2001 to 2016.
This is not the area where we should we looking at, though, even if it is very outstanding records, since this year’s European Championships is only going to have the event finals and no All-Around. The Russian’s records don’t change much, though. In ribbon, they have been the best for six consecutive years. In the last two years, they’ve dominated the ball events as well. In hoop, they have a five-year streak of gold. Lastly, on clubs, they have a two-year streak, even in rope which is not going to be contested this year.
Looking at the records of the country and the new generation of gymnasts themselves, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they won in an apparatus final, especially since Dina is so strong in her clubs routines and Soldatova in her ball routines. Arina’s ball routines, however, are still so-so. Maybe if she was competing with hoop she would have a bigger chance of winning, since she is the 2017 FIG World Cup Series champion with the hoop.
Bulgarian Rhythmic Gymnasts
The Russians indeed have exceptional European Championships records, but the Bulgarians are the Queens of this competition first before them. They have 10 Individual All-Around Champions ever since this competition began in 1978. Although the last one was in 1995, it seems the Bulgarians are rising once again this year.
The team is led by Neviana Vladinova, who is recently crowned Queen of the World Cup with a real tiara after being the top one in the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Ranking List with a total score of 115. This is due to her four gold medals and one silver in the Sofia stop, combined with one gold and two bronze medals in the Baku stop—effectively edging her far ahead of the Russians. It is her biggest win yet.
At the Grand Prix Series’ first stop in Moscow, she placed only around fourth to seventh. She missed the other stops and then came back stronger. She collected three silver and one bronze medal in Marbella, close on Soldatova’s heels. For the first half of the year, she has a total of twelve medals.
The other representative of Bulgaria is Katrin Taseva, who is also second on the World Ranking List along with the three Russians. In Kiev Grand Prix she went home with a gold on ball. At the Tashkent World Cup, she finished third in All-Around and ball events, and then second in clubs. At Sofia All-Around she was second to compatriot Vladinova and third in ribbon. In total she has six medals so far.
In summary, if Vladinova is going to compete with Soldatova and Dina on ribbons, it would be a very close fight since it is the apparatus where Vladinova seems to excel the most. She has an edge here, because the two Russians’ ribbon routines are a little shaky. Out of the three Russian competitors, Arina has the best ribbon routines, and since she’s not competing in this apparatus, there is a huge chance Vladinova is going to win this event at the 33rd European Championships. Even if Arina indeed competed for ribbons, there’s still a huge chance that Vladinova is going to win, since she already beat Arina at this event in Baku World Cup.
Belarusian Rhythmic Gymnasts
Katsiaryna Halkina is one of the two former individual medalists that are on this year’s European Championships’ roster. Her records for the first half of this year on the Grand Prix in Moscow are three bronze medals. At Thiais, she won second in All-Around ahead of Russia’s reserve for the Euros, Iuliia Bravikova.
Halkina has also gone home with a bronze in the All-Around and ball plus a silver on clubs from the 2017 World Cup in Pesaro. At Sofia, she won another bronze on hoop and silver on ribbon. This collective win placed her on the 7th spot on the World Cup Ranking List. So far, she has a total of 9 medals.
At last year’s Euros, Halkina had a bronze on hoop and clubs, so she might still have a chance to win a place in these apparatus this year. If she would compete on clubs with Dina Averina, she would give a good fight. She might even be able to turn the tables and get first, even though she was second to Dina on this apparatus at Pesaro.
Along with Halkina, Julia Evchik is going to represent Belarus. She was just a reserve on the first draft of the competitors’ list, but two weeks before the ECh her country decided to send her instead of Juliya Isachanka, who is now the reserve. Is this a good move for the country’s win? We are a little bit reluctant about this, especially since Evchik’s records for this year is clean. She had some good routines in the World Cup but they weren’t enough to put her into any place, giving her instead a 34th place in the World Cup Ranking List. She might still be able to surprise, though.
If Evchik’s performance is not going to be enough, another rising star is going to try to win for Belarus, and that is Alina Harnasko who is on the 6th place at the World Cup Ranking List after winning a bronze on hoop, ribbon and ball plus a gold on clubs from different stops. She is also the 2017 FIG World Cup Series champion with the clubs, ahead of compatriot Halkina and RUS’ Dina Averina.
At the Grand Prix Series, she went home with a bronze on clubs and ribbon. It seems her strength is also on the clubs, in which she’s going to face Dina at the Euros, if she would compete on this. The apparatus distribution for Belarus is still not out.
Other Rhythmic Gymnasts
Israel is going to send another promising talent into the Euros, Linoy Ashram. Who had a knee surgery but after a few weeks is back on the competition floor. She’s top 8 in the World Cup Ranking List. Ashram’s compatriot is Victoria Veinberg-Filanovsky who is on top 9 at the said list. At the first leg of the World Challenge Cup, she swept three golds, effectively showing how fit she is for the European Championships.
Ukraine, on the other hand is sending big names as well like Viktoria Mazur and first-year senior Olena Diachenko. France’s Kseniya Moustafaeva is also going to compete, as well as Italy’s new star Alexandra Aguirgiuculese.
Looking back into these women’s records, the 33rd European Championships is surely going to be exciting. Fans have witnessed these girls’ careers and they have their own bets. What about you? Who are you going to cheer for?
If you want to watch the event online, here is their live streaming page.
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