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Divine Grace: Rhythmic gymnastics gets more spectacular contests under new tournament format

By Richard Good
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Divine Grace:  Rhythmic gymnastics gets more spectacular contests under new tournament format
Copyright  Euronews

A new tournament is underway in Moscow that it’s hoped will promote a more spectacular style of rhythmic gymnastics

The experimental rhythmic gymnastics international tournament has been entitled “Divine Grace” and is the brainchild of Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva, Director General of the Alina Kabaeva Charity Foundation.

Participants from 13 countries

“I’m delighted to welcome you to our first experimental rhythmic gymnastics international tournament ‘Divine Grace,’ “ Kabaeva said as she opened the tournament. “Participating in this tournament are representatives of 13 countries. Thank you all for finding the time to prepare, travel here, and rise to the challenge”.

Some of the most decorated gymnasts in recent years are supporting this new competition with Lori Fung, Ekaterina Serebryanskaya, Alexandra Timoshenko, Yulia Barsukova, Evgeniya Kanaeva and Margarita Mamun all honorary guests.

No limit on the number of elements

13 invited gymnasts are competing in an all-around contest over four apparatuses: hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. They’re judged in line with the 2001 to 2005 regulations, as well as new regulations that will take effect from 2022.

The rules of rhythmic gymnastics had been heavily simplified; the difficult elements had been removed and, as a result, rhythmic gymnastics stopped being as spectacular and unique as it always had been.
Alina Kabaeva
Olympic champion, Director General of the Alina Kabaeva Charity Foundation.

It’s a mix that pays attention to the difficulty of the execution of the body elements as well artistry, with no limit on the number of elements.

“The inspiration came a long time ago,” says Kabaeva. “When I was watching the Rio Olympics, I noticed that something was not quite right. I couldn’t quite understand what, but then I realised that the rules of rhythmic gymnastics had been heavily simplified; the difficult elements had been removed and, as a result, rhythmic gymnastics stopped being as spectacular and unique as it always had been.”

Russia's Kramarenko leads on day one

During the first event - the hoop routine - junior world champion Lala Kramarenko from Russia stormed to the lead.

She performed her routine faultlessly and secured 36,65 points.

On her heels, trailing by more than 4 points, came Anna Kamenshikova of Belarus, while Marina Malpica of Mexico was in third.

In the ball routine too, no one could match Russia’s Kramarenko, who included a move that’s now been named after her. She widened her lead with 71,95 points at the end of tournament day one.

This was my new routine. I performed it for the first time and I have to say, it felt amazing.
Ketevan Arbolishvili
Tournament participant, Georgian all-round event champion

Sitting in second place after the overall scoring of two routines is Belarus’s Anna Kamenshikova. Georgia’s Ketevan Arbolishvili rose to third place thanks to a clean ball routine, a performance that left her well pleased.

“This was my new routine,” she said. “I performed it for the first time and I have to say, it felt amazing”.

The tournament’s winner will be decided in Moscow at the VTB Arena on December the 17th, based on performances over all 4 apparatuses.