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Rhythmic gymnastics  Deriugina Cup

 

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that is probably best suited for revealing the female beauty to its best advantage. It can be called truly a romantic sport, and Ukraine is one of the world leaders in it. The Deriugina School of Rhythmic Gymnastics is definitely among the leaders. Deriugina Cup competitions under the aegis of the International Gymnastics Federation with the status of Grand Prix, have been regularly held since 1992, and they invariably attract the best gymnasts from around the world.

 

The competitions have been given the name of Albina Deriugina, president of the Gymnastics Federation of Ukraine, an international class judge and coach, and her daughter, Iryna Deriugina, vice president of the Gymnastics Federation of Ukraine, an international class judge and winner of many top titles in gymnastics in the 1970s.

Albina Deriugina began working as a gymnastics coach forty years ago, the sport she was fascinated with, and many of her trainees achieved top results in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics, winning Ukrainian, European, Olympic and world championships. The titles they have collected are various and distinguished (among her former trainees, for example, there are over 150 Masters of Sports, International Class).

In the early 1970s, Zoya Rozynko, one of Ms Deriuginas trainees, was invited to join the Soviet team of gymnasts to take part in international competitions, and since then such stars of rhythmic gymnastics as Zhanna Vasyura, Olga Polokhova, Olga Shchegoleva, Viktoriya Sirykh and others won gold and silver medals in all-round and in event finals. In the second half of the 1970s, Iryna Deriugina, Ms Albina Deriuginas daughter, won two world championships (in 1977 and in 1979), and many other international and local events. Among her victories are the Intervision cup trophies, which at that time were among the most prestigious rhythmic gymnastics events.

Ive loved gymnastics since my childhood. I spent days in the gym watching the training, and I was so happy when my mother allowed me to join her trainees. Im so grateful to her  everything that Ive achieved in gymnastics is thanks to her, says Iryna Deriugina, who is now her mothers right hand. Most of Ms Deriuginas trainees could say the same.

When one generation of gymnastics stars goes, it takes some time for the next generation to follow and achieve good results. And the transition may be a difficult one to achieve smoothly. In the early 1980s, when Ms Deriugina was in the process of training a new generation of gymnasts, the Bulgarian rhythmic gymnasts came on the scene and stayed on top for some time. The Bulgarian dominance was shattered when Bohdana Tarasova and Elina Kholzu, and a little later Oleksandra Tymoshenko and Oksana Skaldina once again internationally proved the excellence of the Ukrainian school of rhythmic gymnastics. Tymoshenko won the gold medal in all-round at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and Skaldina was awarded the bronze medal. In 1993, Kateryna Serebryanska took the gymnastics world by storm and for several years she virtually had no rivals (among her victories, was the gold medal at Atlanta Olympics in 1996). In the mid-1990s, the fame of the Deriugina School was affirmed by Olena Vitrychenko, a gymnast from Odesa.

Ive had my share of disappointments and defeats, but I never thought of quitting. I kept on working  and trying harder and harder, says Ms Albina Deriugina. Among the newer generation of gymnastics stars we find Tamara Yerofeyeva, Hanna Bessonova, Natalya Hodunko and Olena Dzyubchuk.

 

The Deriugina Cup Competition which was held in the Palace of Sports, Kyiv, on March 1516, brought together participants from 30 countries of the world. Deriugina Cup is a very prestigious competition  it attracts the best of the best and the Kyiv gymnastics-loving public is always highly enthusiastic and supportive, and it is no wonder that so many competitors want to take part. It is a pity that such Russian gymnastics stars as Alina Kabayeva and Elena Chashchyna could not make it to Kyiv  they would have made the contest even more competitive.

This year new rules were introduced to reflect the ever growing tough competitiveness in the sport of gymnastics. Some of the new requirements are so tough that they can lead to injuries if the gymnasts are not careful enough. Some of the gymnasts get so tired during the training that they cannot  literally  stand on their feet afterwards. Some of the elements are extremely hard to perform, says Iryna Deriugina. For some of the gymnasts the strain is so great that they quit the sport.

During the 90 seconds that the gymnast is given for her performance, she is supposed to go through ten stages of difficulty, with each of the stages having two or three elements to perform. According to the new rules, the gymnast is supposed to be actively doing something with her apparatuses  be it balls, ribbons or hoops. The gymnast can get up to 30 points for her performance. Three groups of judges assess the performance, each group specializing in one aspect  technical, artistic and general performance. The difficulty of the elements of the performance, music, costume and so on are assessed and points are awarded  maximum ten from each group of judges. The judges are often accused of being too subjective in assessing the performances but the necessary level of objectivity is believed to be reached through a collective effort.

This year, the Ukrainian gymnasts Hanna Bessonova and Tamara Yerofeyeva won the two top places, and the Bulgarian gymnast Simona Peycheva was awarded the third place (some of the sports journalists were of the opinion that the Bulgarian deserved more than the bronze medal).

Hanna Bessonova was by far the best and her victory was hailed as being absolutely qualified. She is, undoubtedly, one of the leaders of todays gymnastics. She particularly excelled in the events with the hoop and with the ribbon. The latter is generally considered to be the greatest test for a gymnast. Ms Bessonova showed perfect coordination and her overall composition was called perfect by the sports journalists (incidentally, Ms Bessonovas father is a former football player of the Kyiv Dynamo squad, and together with his side he won the European Cup of Cups and other prestigious tournaments).

It is planned to hold the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship in Kyiv in 2004, and the right to hold a competition of such a level has been won by the achievements of Ukrainian gymnastics. A new gymnasium is to be built especially for holding the championship.

 

By Nataliya Rudnichenko

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