Russians take more gold in rhythmic gymnastics
2014-08-28 10:06:00

Russian rhythmic gymnasts wave to audience after the group all-around final. Photo by Yue Yuewei

NANJING, 27 Aug. - The Russian rhythmic gymnastics team extended its lead after the qualification round and took the gold medal in the group all-around event for the second consecutive Youth Olympic Games on Wednesday.

"It’s a start," said Natalia SAFONOVA (RUS) while her teammates nodded in agreement. "It’s a sign that we can do everything."

Each of the four teams in the final performed two routines, the first with five hoops and the second with five clubs.

Russia’s team had a strong start with the first routine, which featured one gymnast being lifted on top of a hoop by her teammates. The second routine, set to a quick medley from Swedish pop group ABBA, propelled the Russians in front of their strongest rival, Bulgaria, and guaranteed them gold.

"Getting ready for that second routine was the hardest," said Victoria ILINA (RUS). "We practically didn't have any time to prepare. We got dressed in the hallway, came out, and right away we were on the floor. We almost didn’t prepare at all."

"But we were confident in ourselves because we worked a lot in advance," said Sofya SKOMOROKH (RUS).

The Russian gymnasts have trained and lived together for two years, and said that their goal is to also compete at the Olympic Summer Games together as a team.

Bulgaria’s team fared well in the qualification round and got 29.200 points, just 0.45 points behind Russia. But in the final, the Bulgarians received a 0.30 penalty on the hoops routine and one gymnast dropped a club early in the second.

"They were not the biggest mistakes we could have made," said Emiliya RADICHEVA (BUL). "Yesterday (in qualifications) we competed better than today, but that’s OK."

Kazakhstan was fourth after the qualification round, but improved scores for both routines in the final and took the bronze medal with 25.050 points overall.

The Uzbek gymnasts were third after the hoops routine but dropped a club during a pass in the second routine and finished fourth overall. Editor:Hiram