Knee-high to a grasshopper girls wearing make-up for adults…

The Russian Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships began in Kazan

Knee-high to a grasshopper girls wearing make-up for adults…
Photo: Artyom Shapaev (vk.com/art.shapaev)

On 4 February, the Russian Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships began in the Gymnastics Centre of Kazan. We got used to the fact that Kazan is a host city of many large-scale competitions. The Gymnastics Centre was created in November 2012 especially for Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships' group competition and the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Cup. Realnoe Vremya tells how it was.

From Rustam Minnikhanov to Irina Viner

At the opening ceremony of the Gymnastics Centre the President of the republic Rustam Minnikhanov said that, 'It is a special day in the capital of our republic and Russian sport. We are opening the largest gymnastics complex.' Irina Viner, the president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation and the head coach of the national team of Russia (I'm citing a 3-year-old voice record) highly estimated our complex:

'I'm happy that this Olympic year [the 2012] the rhythmic gymnastics competitions are held in such a wonderful hall. Nowadays Kazan is the centre of Russian sport. I'm convinced that the future Olympic champions will grow up here,' Viner stated.

Kazan has deserved this centre. It is enough to remember recent stars of our gymnastics: Venera Zaripova (we talked to her at the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg in 1994), Amina Zaripova, Alina Kabaeva, Yana Batyrshina, Laysan Utyasheva. Now we are waiting for the list of great athletes to be continued by sportspeople of Kazan…

We waited for madam Vinger this time as well, but she was busy as well as our mayor. So, they did not come to the opening of the championships in 2016… The deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and member of the Executive Board of the Olympic Committee Marat Bariev, the Deputy Minister of the Minister of youth Affairs and Sport of Tatarstan Almaz Mingulov, the deputy head of the executive committee of Kazan Natalya Grechannikova and repeated World and European champion, champion of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Honoured Master of Sport of the Russian Federation Tatiana Gorbunova took part at the opening parade.


At the opening ceremony, the President of the republic Rustam Minnikhanov said that, 'It is a special day in the capital of our republic and Russian sport.' Photo: prav.tatar.ru

The Russian gymnasts will prove that they are the best in the world

'It should not be forgotten that this year is the Olympic year. And I'm convinced that all people who came today to the Centre will support the Russian gymnasts who will try again to prove that they are the best in the world. And we can just hope that one day the participants of today's competitions will replace the current generation and continue glorious tradition of victories,' Marat Bariev noted.

Almaz Mingulov, in turn, said with satisfaction that rhythmic gymnastics is very popular in Tatarstan. Nowadays almost 3,000 people are doing this kind of sport, and 5 of them participate in today's competitions.

When the expectations and the reality don't coincide

Without first persons of the city and the republic the opening was quite simple but tasteful: kids dancing in folk costumes, jazz orchestra and for dessert – exhibition performance of the gymnasts of the national team of Russia, as it was said. But getting closer, we can see that only one athlete is registered in the first national team who is Dina Averina. Judging by the exhibition performances, our girls dislike ribbon most, so there was only one performance with this apparatus, two performances with clubs, and six – with hoop and balls. The girls often made mistakes maybe because Viner did not come or due to nervousness.

160 athletes under-15 will take part in the competitions. They are representing Volga, Far Eastern, Crimean, North Caucasian, Siberian, Ural, Central and Southern Federal Districts, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sevastopol.

160 athletes under-15 will take part in the competitions. Photo: Artyom Shapaev (vk.com/art.shapaev)

European Championships is at stake

The athletes were selected in the federal districts of Russia. Yes, they are knee-high to a grasshopper children who put make-up for adults on their young faces. But the Russian Championships is a motivation because it is a qualification competition for the 2016 Moscow Gran Prix and the 2016 European Championships. The tournament held in Kazan will show who has the right to participate in the European Championships as an adult.

The competitions of Kazan will take place till 7 February.
By Sergey Gavrilov