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Gymnast Bessonova wins the gold medal


Anna Bessonova of Ukraine won the all-around title at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship which was held in Patras, Greece, in September 2007. Bessonova was ahead of Vera Sessina of Russia who was second, and Olga Kapranova of Russia who was third (Russia won team all-around).


In rhythmic gymnastics, which became an Olympic sport in 1984, gymnasts compete on a mat about 12.5 m (41 ft) square. Using a rope, a hoop, a ball, clubs, and a ribbon (in separate events), they perform choreographed movements set to music. Some acrobatic movements are permitted, but no flight is allowed. Each competitor is judged on composition, or on the difficulty of what she does, and execution, or how well she does it. The goal is to work harmoniously with the equipment to perform a graceful and error-free routine. There are also two team events in which five competitors perform together.


Anna Bessonova, with her 73.950 points was ahead of Vera Sessina by only 0.050 points but this lead gave her an overall victory. It was the first time since 1997 that a Ukrainian gymnast has won an all-round title. In 1997 the winner was the Ukrainian gymnast Olena Virtychenko. For the next ten years, the rhythmic gymnastics scene was dominated by Russian athletes.

Anna Bessonova burst out on the international scene in 1999 and won numerous medals since then. She earned the All Around bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, the silver at the 2003 World Championships and another bronze at the 2001 World Championships. She also won the titles in the Hoop and on the Clubs at the 2003 World Championship.

The youngest in the Ukrainian team during the World Championships in Osaka in 1999, she made such a good impression that the RG specialists wrote her name down immediately in their notebooks.

Bessonovas culture of body movement, her elegance and overall appeal seems to have been inherited from her famous Ukrainian predecessors: Iryna Deryuhyna (World champion in 1977 and 1979), who is nowadays coaching Anna together with her mother Albina Deryuhyna, the doyen of Ukrainian Rhythmic Gymnastics (among their disciples were the 1992 Olympic champion Olexandra Tymoshenko; the 1996 Olympic Champion Kateryna Serebryanska; the 1997 World and European champion Olena Vitrichenko, and numerous other World class gymnasts).

For two years Anna took the role of the permanent Princess in the Ukrainian team, remaining in the shadow of her senior teammate Tamara Erofeyeva. This situation changed in the summer 2002, when she won her first World Gold medal as a member of the Ukrainian Group (Ribbon routine), in New Orleans. She dominated the World Cup Final in Stuttgart in November, by winning the first place on the Hoop, the Rope and the Clubs.

After the competitions the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Patras were over, Anna said that she had felt she could win the all-round gold this time and that she was in a proper mood to do so. She was ahead of all the competitors in all events, except for the Ribbon. We have proved that Ukrainian gymnastics can successfully compete with Russian gymnasts and win. Now the whole world has seen that!


President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko sent greetings to Anna Bessonova. The greeting said, in part, Millions of Ukrainians have been hoping that this gold medal would be wonHope that this success is a good start which opens a way to medals to be won by Ukrainian athletes at the 29th Olympic Games. In his greeting the President also wished Anna Bessonova inspiration, inexhaustible optimism and new achievements

Anna Bessonova has begun her training for the Olympics to be held next year in Beijing.


By Ruslan FOKIN

Photos are from Bessonovas archive











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