Russian world champion Yana Kudryavtseva will be looking to defend her European crown as she leads a stellar line up of athletes competing at this year’s European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Minsk.
The 31st edition of the continental showpiece tournament will get underway tomorrow at the Minsk Arena in the Belarusian capital where 68 individual athletes from 40 nations will compete for podium finishes.
Joining Kudryavtseva at the Championships will be her compatriots Margarita Mamun, last year’s all-around world silver medallist, and Aleksandra Soldatova, who will be aiming for the European team title.
Belarusian gymnast Melitina Staniouta will be one to watch as she will be looking to go one better this year on home turf after securing the European all-around silver medal in Baku last year, while 2014 Ukrainian bronze medallist Ganna Rizatdinova will also be aiming for a podium finish.
Another home athlete in the form of Katsiaryna Halkina will also be a strong contender for medals after she featured on the silver medal winning team at last year’s World Championships in İzmir, Turkey, as will Azerbaijan’s Marina Durunda, Georgian Salome Phajava, Spanish Mediterranean Games champion Carolina Rodríguez, Kseniya Moustafaeva of France and Israel’s Neta Rivkin.
The competition will also feature squads from 27 countries in the junior groups, with the hosts, Russia, Ukraine and Italy expected to be strong.
The senior individual gymnasts will compete in hoop and ball routines tomorrow and clubs and ribbon on Saturday (May 2), before the nation with the highest combined scores is awarded the team title.
The top eight athletes on each apparatus will then compete in the finals on Sunday (May 3).
Watch a live stream of the event here.
September 2014: Kudryavtseva makes history again at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships
September 2014: Russia dominate at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships with three golds
September 2014: Kudryavtseva and Mamun share gold in ball final at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships
August 2013: Kudryavtseva continues stunning form to take rhythmic gymnastics all-round world title
August 2013: Kudryavtseva and Mamun take more gold for Russia at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships