Rhythmic’s young stars set to shine at Junior Worlds
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, 18 July 2019
The 1st FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics Junior World Championships, taking place 19-21 July in Moscow, offer an unprecedented opportunity for the sport’s finest young gymnasts and may even propel some towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
On the eve of Rhythmic Gymnastics’ first ever Junior World Championships, FIG President Morinari Watanabe has revealed his excitement at the event’s significant potential.
“These Junior World Championships are a first and have been created with the aim of developing junior athletes and giving them space to dream and hope,” President Watanabe said.
“The event is an excellent opportunity for junior rhythmic gymnasts to gain experience on the world stage. Some of them will be eligible for senior events next year and might even qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
A total of 137 individual gymnasts and 186 group members, all aged from 13-15 years old (born 2004-2006), will perform in the Russian capital’s brand new Irina Viner-Usmanova Gymnastics Palace in pursuit of four individual, three group and one team gold medal.
The event is truly a World Championships with gymnasts from 61 nations, including traditional powerhouses Russia, Bulgaria and Italy alongside lesser known lights such as South Africa, Thailand and Singapore, chasing individual glory while 33 nations will do battle in the group competitions.
It is a prospect Vasily Titov, President of the Russian Gymnastics Federation and FIG Vice President, cannot wait for.
“I’m delighted to welcome all participants and spectators of the inaugural Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships,” he said. “The Local Organising Committee will do its utmost to provide our guests with a comfortable environment and to create great memories for all. We hope that the upcoming championships will turn out to be an unforgettable experience for all the young gymnasts competing in Moscow.”
The stage is certainly set for that to be the case, with the Irina Viner-Usmanova Gymnastics Palace providing majestic facilities. The new home of Rhythmic Gymnastics in Russia opened its doors last month and boasts a world-class 4,000-seat arena as well as three training and choreography halls, a gym, a health and rehabilitation centre and much more. Fans will even have the opportunity to breathe in the history of the sport and saviour Russia’s remarkable recent record in the Palace’s onsite interactive museum.
Although, the action-packed three-day schedule may not allow much time for such extra-curricular activities. Gymnasts going for individual gold will have opportunities in the Rope, Ball, Clubs and Ribbon categories while the groups will compete in 5 Hoops and 5 Ribbons, with results in qualification for those two events also deciding the group All-around title.
An additional team ranking will be calculated by adding up a nation’s four scores in individual qualification and two scores in the group qualifiers.
While Russia’s Lala Kramarenko, the two-time 2018 Junior European Championship gold medal winner and 2018 Junior Grand Prix All-around champion, heads a formidable looking home nation squad, there are a host of other exciting young stars to look out for.
Romanian Laura Anitei will be one of those out to prove President Watanabe correct and force herself into contention for a spot at next year’s Olympic Games. The 15-year-old was fourth in the Hoop final at the 2018 Junior European Championships and placed seventh in the All-around. Fellow Tokyo 2020 hopeful Arzu Jalilova will be out to impress Azerbaijan’s coaches as she seeks to build on the European Championship bronze she won last year.
Elsewhere, Italy’s Sofia Raffaeli, Israel’s Adi Katz and the Belarusian group will all be expecting to climb on the podium in Moscow.
Follow all the action at the FIG website and visit http://rgjunior2019.com/en for more information.