Patras, Sunday, 23 September:
Two Exercises (one with 5 ropes and another, with 3 hoops/2 clubs) - and both sets medals went to one and the same direction.
Russia- 2 Gold medals (17.650/17.525) were unbeatable because of their strength in all the three components of the final score (Execution, Artistic and Difficulty) and because of their homogenous team (average height of the gymnasts was above 177cm)
Italy- 2 Silver medals (17.300/17.350) were the most “synchronised” team, a mixture of experience, talent and imaginative choreography.
Bulgaria- 2 Bronze medals (17.075/15.975) were the team who most courageously “gambled” with risk and virtuosity (multiple breathtaking exchanges of the apparatus) and very interesting choreography (especially with Ropes) .
Belarus- fourth in both routines, lost the chance to medal primarily because of the lower Difficulty of their routines (7.900 Difficulty for their Hoop/Clubs routine vs. 9.300 for Bulgaria)
Closest to this “Magnificent Four” came Israel (with Ropes), and elegant Ukraine (with Hoops and Clubs) – fifth places respectively.
Sixth was the place “reserved” for Spain, more confident in their ropes routines, but obviously improved compared to Baku’05.
The young and very talented Group of Japan (7th with the ropes and 8th with Hoops/Clubs) will be remembered with their originality and refreshing presence on the podium.
France, 8th with Ropes, will be sadly missed in Beijing. Patras saw one of their best Groups ever, who, unfortunately, gave way to the high pressure in the All-around, messed their Hoops/Clubs routine and lost their chances for both Olympic Qualification and another Final.
In the end of these Championships Russia’s medal tally came to 6 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze medals. Follow Ukraine-1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze; Belarus - 2 silver, 2 bronze; Italy- 3 Silver medals; Bulgaria- 2 Bronze medals and Azerbaijan- one Bronze.
These Championships will be long remembered for the improved level and very high quality of Rhythmic Gymnastics seen over the week; For the incredible pressure that the Olympic Qualifications added; For Russia’s supremacy at this moment of time; For the long awaited All-around victory of the Ukrainian Anna Bessonova (UKR) and for the entertaining appeal of all the Groups, with Russia, Belarus and Bulgaria starring.
Last but not least to mention is the professional organisation which didn’t lack any touch of friendliness and warm hospitality. Quite obviously, the experience from Athens 2004 has helped Greece enormously in building a solid potential of organisers, technical experts and volunteers whose work before and during the Championships was highly and unanimously appreciated.
The next World Championships will take place in Mie, Japan in 2009/VA
Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com