After three days of competition at the Kazan Rhythmic World Challenge Cup, Russia took first place in nearly every single category of competition. Being the host country and historically dominating the podium at rhythmic competitions, Russia was expected to perform well, and they delivered.
In the individual all-around competition, the Averina sisters each had great days and showed their consistency by placing first and second on the podium. Dina Averina came in first and Arina Averina in second, scoring the two top podium spots for Russia. Katrin Taseva had a great day and came in third somewhat unexpectedly as an underdog, winning for Bulgaria.
Russia came in first in the group competition, placing first over Bulgaria and third-place Italy. Russia took first in 5 balls and second in 4 clubs and 3 hoops to take first. Bulgaria did the opposite, placing ahead of Russia in 4 clubs and 3 hoops, but taking second in 5 balls. Japan took third in 5 balls, and Israel placed third in 4 clubs 3 hoops to create those final team placements.
Russia placed first in each individual event, sweeping all apparatuses. Arina Averina took first in hoop over Dina Averina in second place, giving Russia the first two hoop podium places. Third place went to Belarus, when Alina Harnasko showed a strong routine.
In ball, ribbon, and clubs, first place went to Dina Averina and second place to Arina Averina. These consistent wins and clean routines are why everyone looks to Russia as the leader of the rhythmic gymnastics world. Russia went into this competition stating that their main focus was to clean up after past mistakes, and they certainly did that.
“Our goal across the World Challenge Cup series is to become stronger emotionally and physically, more confident and bolder ... we expect a great performance as this is our final event before the World Championships, but we need to identify all our flaws because we will only have two weeks to fix it all before then,” Russian gymnast Anastasiia Maksimova told the International Gymnastics Federation. “The main goal in Kazan is to fix all the mistakes that were previously made in other tournaments.” Maksimova competed alongside Evgeniya Levanova, Anastasia Shishmakova, Anzhelika Stubailo and Maria Tolkacheva in the group competition for Russia.
Third place in ball went to Boryana Kaleyn of Bulgaria, bronze in clubs went to Alina Harasko of Belarus, and third in ribbon went to Belarus as well, won by Katsiaryna Halkina. Next up for rhythmic gymnastics is the Portimão World Challenge Cup, taking place Sept. 6-8 in Portimão, Portugal.