Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships 2022: all the favorites withdrew from the competition, the results – what’s going on?

The Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships 2022 has just started, and it has already brought surprises, and not the most pleasant ones. The main favorites of the tournament Daria Atamanova (Israel) and Boryana Kalein (Bulgaria) withdrew. And if we take into account that girls from Russia and Belarus were not allowed to the tournament, and Lina Ashram ended her career, it turns out that by no means the best gymnasts of the planet are fighting for the title of world champion, and those who could only dream of getting into medals before. Not a tournament, but a complete misunderstanding.

The best among… leftovers

The World Championship in Sofia should already have become special, if only because for the first time since 1975, our athletes did not compete at the tournament. In the history of Russia, such a situation generally occurs for the first time! As a result, instead of the Averins or Lala Kramarenko, the favorites were Boryana Kalein and Daria Atamanova, who had already won in the absence of the Russians at the European Championship.




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But everything went wrong. At first, Atamanova withdrew from the tournament due to an injury. An athlete with Russian roots injured her leg during a warm-up before qualifying. Daria was diagnosed with a broken foot, recovery will take about 6-8 weeks. And after a couple of hours the tournament lost another favorite. Boryana Kaleyn withdrew from the competition due to illness. On the night before the start of the tournament, the Bulgarian had a high temperature – 39.4 degrees Celsius. The athlete was immediately taken to the hospital, it is assumed that she caught some kind of infection.

After the removal of Kalain and Atamanova, an intrigue immediately arose – who will win the title of world champion, because the remaining gymnasts have approximately equal chances.

Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship - 2022

Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship – 2022

Photo: gymnastics.sport

Despite the absence of clear favorites, the competitions of the first day still looked quite lively and interesting. In the lead with a hoop, the gold medal was won by the Italian Sofia Raffaelli (34.850 points), the second was the Bulgarian Stiliana Nikolova (33.400 points), and the former Russian gymnast, now playing for Germany Daria Varfolomeeva (32.150 points), closed the top three. In the lead with the ball, Rafaelli again won (34.900 points), Varfolomeeva took second place (34.100 points), and Italy’s Milena Baldassari won the bronze (32.400 points).

Of course, in the end, the audience got intrigue and spectacle. But the story of the absence of all the leaders at the World Cup is absurd. It is also important that Kaleyn, Atamanova and Russian gymnasts may now have problems with the selection for the 2024 Olympics. The current World Cup is one of the stages of selection. Three quotas are played at the tournament, which the winners will receive. Initially, everyone assumed that two of them would go to the Bulgarian and the Israeli, but now they will go to other athletes. Daria and Boryana, like Russian athletes, will now have to wait until 2023.




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“Russia is happy”

While the foreigners competed at the World Championships, our gymnasts performed at the Spartakiad, which the head of the All-Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation (VFCG) Irina Viner called “a real world championship.”

“Today I have already said that now countries for us are regions of Russia. If you take all the regions, it will turn out to be the World Cup,” Viner said. – Usually we have two people in the all-around final, but now there are 25. Therefore, we are very happy. And Russia is all happy. Russia says thanks to the sanctions! We are now in trend, we have entered the big stage, as Alla Pugacheva sings.




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Unlike foreign colleagues, Russian gymnasts performed according to Russian rules, which did not provide for restrictions on the complexity of the apparatus and body. As a result, the programs were more complex and were rated much higher by the judges.

Arina and Dina Averina, who could become favorites of the World Cup, did not perform very well at the Spartakiad. They were ahead of the rising star Lala Kramarenko. The gymnast performed excellently in all events and won gold in the all-around, gaining 163.30 points.

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship

Dina Averina became only the second there, losing to the leader by 4.8 points. Dina made a couple of mistakes in the exercise with a hoop, and after it she almost cried. According to her, this was due to severe back pain. Then the gymnast performed without problems. The top three winners were closed by 15-year-old junior Anna Popova, who received 155.80 points.

Arina Averina took the last, 20th place. The gymnast made a gross mistake in the exercise with a hoop – the object rolled out of the carpet, and did not go to the exercises with the ball at all. It turned out that the athlete withdrew due to injury.




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“Today, most likely, I should not have performed, I have big problems with my back,” said Dina. – I went up to Irina Alexandrovna Viner and asked what to do. She said let’s try. It seems to me that today I performed on the drive and better than in all competitions of the year. Today I succeeded in everything, especially clubs with a ribbon, I am very happy, and for myself I won today. Why did Arina act? She has hip problems. She wanted to withdraw even before the first exercise, but she tried.”

If the Russians have already finished their performance at their “world championship”, since the competitions at the Spartakiad officially ended on September 14, then the rest of the gymnasts are just starting to fight for medals at the universally recognized world championship. The tournament in Sofia will run until 18 September.

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