Judges at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships must “realise the responsibility they have,” sport's governing body President Bruno Grandi said as the event in Stuttgart got underway today.
The International Gymnastic Federation's (FIG) Disciplinary Commission recently suspended two judges for bias at the 2014 World Championships in Izmir, Turkey, with three others given warnings, and Grandi warned the judges in Stuttgart must get it right this time around with so much at stake.
As well as nine world titles being on offer, the event will give countries the chance to secure Olympic qualification for Rio 2016.
“Everyone wants to go to the Olympics,” Grandi, President of the FIG since 1996 but who is due to step down next year, said.
“As such, the judges must realise the responsibility that they have.
“Rhythmic gymnastics is a beautiful sport, there's no doubt about it.
“But this sport must be judged and it's not always easy to put a number on the aesthetic part.
“There can be a small margin between the judges in evaluating execution, but the judgment must stay within this margin.
“Otherwise, there has clearly been a mistake."
Multiple world champion Yana Kudryavtseva of Russia began the competition itself in ominous fashion as she topped the leaderboard on the opening day of all-around qualification.
The 17-year-old sensation won five golds at last year's World Championships and began the defence of her all-around title with a score of 18.933 points after her first use of the ball apparatus.
Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova is second after she posted a total of 18.366 using the hoops, with South Korea's Incheon 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Son Yeon-jae currently third with 17.933 in the same discipline.
Rizatdinova and Son’s scores see them lead the way in the hoop standings, while Azerbaijan’s Marina Durunda is third with 17.750.
Kudryavtseva, winner of four gold medals at the inaugural European Games in the Azerbaijani capital Baku in June, has a comfortable advantage at the summit of the ball discipline leaderboard as nearest challenger and compatriot Margarita Mamun is 1.100 points adrift in second.
The 2015 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, due to finish on September 13, will feature 279 gymnasts across seven days of competition.
August 2015: Fantastic five for Mamun as Russia dominate home Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup
August 2015: FIG World Cup Series to end in Kazan as rhythmic gymnasts look ahead to World Championships
June 2015: Kudryavtseva in unstoppable form with hat-trick of European Games golds on jam-packed final day of gymnastics
June 2015: Russia's ribbon routine sets up Baku 2015 rhythmic gymnastics all-around triumph
May 2015: Russia secure clean sweep of individual titles on final day of Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships