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Kramarenko triumphs at first-ever experimental rhythmic gymnastics international tournament

By Richard Good
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Kramarenko triumphs at first-ever experimental rhythmic gymnastics international tournament
Copyright  Euronews

The first-ever experimental rhythmic gymnastics international tournament Divine Grace has reached a triumphant conclusion in Moscow.

The star of the show was 17-year-old Russian Lala Kramarenko - who dominated with victory in each of the four disciplines in the all-around competition.

Big modifications to existing routines

On the last day of the tournament, the gymnasts performed their club and ribbon routines.

It’s far more physically challenging. I liked it because we can reveal ourselves and show real rhythmic gymnastics
Lala Kramarenko
Tournament winner

Kramarenko top-scored with the clubs not just because of her faultless execution but also her mastery of the tournament’s unique regulations - which allow participants to include as many body elements as they want. The change means big modifications to existing routines. Kramarenko was up to the task.

“This programme is very different from the current regulations,” she said. “Numerous elements have been added so it’s far more physically challenging. I liked it because we can reveal ourselves and show real rhythmic gymnastics.”

Averina twins want to try new format

Russia’s Team leaders for the past five years, the Averina sisters, took part in the award ceremony gala. They said they like the new format.

It would be great for this tournament to develop further, and for us to try and take part.
Dina Averina
Four-time World All-around Champion

“Yes, this was an excellent experiment because it’s an entirely different type of gymnastics,” said Dina. “What the girls are doing here is far more beautiful compared to under the current rules. It would be great for this tournament to develop further, and for us to try and take part.”

Anna Kamenshikova of Belarus and Ketevan Arbolishvili of Georgia appeared confident with the new Points Code, which comes into place from next year until 2024. They took second and third place after the club routines.

Kramarenko flawless with the ribbons

The ribbon is the trickiest and most spectacular discipline of the contest - and one which all admirers of gymnastics enjoy.

Kramarenko performed flawlessly once again, including an element which this year the International Gymnastics Federation named after her in her honour.

The ribbons didn’t change the overall standings, with Russia’s Lala Kramarenko winning the first-ever Divine Grace tournament with a magnificent 141.56 points. Anna Kamenshikova of Belarus claimed silver, while Georgian Champion Ketevan Arbolishvili took bronze.

Organisers want to make tournament a permanent fixture

For tournament creator, Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva, the outcome was a success.

I was very worried that at some point something would go wrong. Because the regulations are incredibly difficult for today’s rhythmic gymnastics.
Alina Kabaeva
Director-general of the Alina Kabaeva Charity Foundation

“I was very worried that at some point something would go wrong,” said Kabaeva, director-general of the Alina Kabaeva Charity Foundation. “Because the regulations are incredibly difficult for today’s rhythmic gymnastics. In fact, a number of countries said, ‘Alina, forgive us, please. We really want to come to the tournament but at the same time, we don’t want to look foolish. Let’s just promise that next year we’ll be there.’ But I think that this celebration of sport turned out well and that it was of the highest quality.”

Divine Grace should be back in Moscow - the event’s organizers have promised to make it a tradition.