There was no doubt that the focus of the third Rhythmic World Challenge Cup in Kazan (RUS) was going to be on the Russian entries with less than a month left before the 2018 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Sofia (BUL) from 10-16 September.
Even with the pressure competing at home, three-time World Champion Dina Averina left no doubt as to who is the favorite in all five events in Sofia next month. She is.
Averina, competing without her sister Arina in this meet, tied teammate Aleksandra Soldatova for the All-Around top score, but was classified second. Averina then proceeded to sweep the titles in all four of the apparatus finals, winning by big margins – by Rhythmic Gymnastics standards – of 1.00 (Hoop), 0.350 (Ball), 0.350 (Clubs) and 1.00 (Ribbon).
The surprise came in the performance of Israel’s Linoy Ashram, who finished third in the All-Around and then second in all four apparatus finals. She won bronze medals in the 2017 Worlds in the All-Around and Ribbon and looks ready to do much more next month in Sofia.
Soldatova won the bronze medals in three of four apparatus finals; will she or Arina Averina be nominated for Sofia? The U.S. had Laura Zeng and Evita Griskenis in the meet, who finished ninth and 13th in the All-Around.
FIG Rhythmic World Challenge Cup
Kazan (RUS) ~ 24-26 August 2018
(Full results here)
All-Around: 1. Aleksandra Soldatova (RUS), 80.400; 2. Dina Averina (RUS), 80.400; 3. Linoy Ashram (ISR), 78.800. Also: 9. Laura Zeng (USA), 69.150; … 13. Evita Griskenis (USA), 67.300.
Hoop: 1. Dina Averina (RUS), 20.800; 2. Ashram (ISR), 19.800; 3. Boryana Kaleyn (BUL), 19.550.
Ball: 1. Dina Averina (RUS), 20.200; 2. Ashram (ISR), 19.850; 3. Soldatova (RUS), 19.800.
Clubs: 1. Dina Averina (RUS), 20.550; 2. Ashram (ISR), 20.200; 3. Soldatova (RUS), 19.500. Also: 5. Zeng (USA), 18.100.
Ribbon: 1. Dina Averina (RUS), 19.850; 2. Ashram (ISR), 18.950; 3. Soldatova (RUS), 18.700. Also: 8. Griskenis (USA), 15.600.
Team Qualifications: 1. Italy, 43.950; 2. Russia, 43.950; 3. Bulgaria, 43.800.
Team/5 Hoops: 1. Russia, 23.100; 2. Bulgaria, 22.600; 3. Italy, 22.000.
Team/3 Balls + 2 Ropes: 1. Russia, 22.800; 2. Italy, 22.200; 3. Japan, 22.100.