Russia Sweeps First Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships

Russia showed its reign in rhythmic gymnastics is long from over as the country swept the competition at the first FIG Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships and won all eight gold medals.

In the group competition, Russia was golden in both 5 hoops and 5 ribbons. The Russian group also won the group all-around title. Individually, Anastasia Simakova won rope, Daria Sergaeva came out on top for ribbon, and Lala Kramarenko was victorious in clubs and ball. And all of these gymnasts' scores added up to the top of the team leaderboard to win the team gold.

The Russian gymnasts were not only ones to watch because they were predicted to medal and win, but also because they were competing on their home turf with friends and family watching at their biggest meet yet. That didn't seem to faze them, though. 

“We didn’t feel any pressure at all," Russian group gymnast Anna Batasova said. "It’s easier to be a group, you feel so supported. We just went out and had fun.”

Junior Worlds was also the first time Kramarenko's father got to see her compete live, and it went undoubtedly well as she won two individual titles.

Despite no gold medals, the competition also went well for Team Italy. The Italian group won silver in the group all-around while the entire team won team silver. Italy's 5 hoops routine also earned a silver medal. Individually, Sofia Rafaella added more silver in the rope and clubs final. 

Belarus was another standout nation as their group won silver in the 5 ribbons final and bronze for 5 hoops and the group all-around. However, Belarus just missed out on another medal by finishing fourth in the team competition. Their individuals did well and qualified to the ball, clubs, and rope finals but did not medal.

The team bronze went to Israel, whose 5 ribbons routine earned bronze. Individually, Adi Asya Katz and Noga Block helped Israel get the team bronze. Katz won silver for ribbon and bronze for clubs while Block finished in third for ball.

The only other countries to medal were Azerbaijan with Arzu Jalilova and Spain with Salma Solaun. Jalilova won two medals, silver for ball and bronze for rope, while Solaun won bronze for ribbon.

In terms of scores, Russia's smallest margin of victory was 0.550 for Sergaeva in the ribbon final. Every other margin of victory was more than a point. Individually, Kramarenko's had 2.325 over Katz in the ball final. The Russia group won the all-around with a 4.45 difference, while a whopping 12.050 points separated Russia and Italy in the team competition. So almost every event was a decisive win for Russia.

 Full results can be found on the FIG's website.

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