The fourth of five competitions in the World Challenge Cup series for rhythmic gymnastics, the 2019 Kazan World Challenge Cup will be filled with tricks and skills sure to dazzle the crowd. Taking place in Kazan, Russia, this competition follows the Cluj Napoca World Challenge Cup of last weekend, and comes before the final competition in Portimão, Portugal. The event is three days long and runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.
This competition will have both individuals and groups competing in four individual events (hoop, ball, ribbon, and clubs) and two group competitions (5 balls and 3 hoops, 4 clubs). All eyes will be on Russia during this competition, as the Russian contingent has the home team advantage and is on top of rhythmic gymnastics as a whole.
As far as group competitions go, it could be anyone’s title to take. There has been a different first-place team in all three of the World Challenge Cup competitions so far, so we will see who claims the top spot on the podium. Italy, Russia, and Israel have all taken first once, and Bulgaria and Azerbaijan have both taken second before, making them contenders for the group title as well.
There are a few gymnasts who could take home the individual all-around spot. Linoy Ashram of Israel showed her incredible improvement at the last World Challenge Cup, taking all-around gold, as well as multiple event titles, so she has a huge opportunity to win this slot. Many Russian gymnasts could also take first, as Aleksandra Soldatova and Dina Averina have both taken first at World Challenge Cups this year. Two other Russian gymnasts, Ekaterina Selezneva and Arina Averina, are also strong competitors who could boot their teammates out of first place.
As far as individual event competitions go, Ashram has won the last two World Challenge Cup hoop competitions and will be going for her third in a row. Her biggest competitors are four Russian gymnasts: Soldatova, Selezneva, and the Averina sisters. Ball could be won by any number of people, with last weekend’s champion Vlada Nikolchenko from Ukraine headlining that list. This event will be a toss-up as it could go to many different gymnasts, depending on who has a good competition.
Clubs is pretty solidly on lock by the Russian gymnasts, although who specifically will win this event is anyone’s guess. Russia has won this event at all three World Challenge Cups so far this season, and out of the three podium places at the three competitions, has taken six of the nine spots. Ribbon, the last rhythmic event competed this season, is an event where Italy could come take the title. Both Alexandra Agiurgiuculese and Milena Baldassarri are consistent workers on this event and may challenge defending champion Ashram for the title this weekend.