27. August 2023  
Valencia, ESP  
Rhythmic Gymnastics

40th WCh Rhythmic Gymnastics 2023: 5x WCh Gold for Germany's Darja VARFOLOMEEV

Sensational World Championships successes for Germany!

The 40th Anniversary World Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics 2023, held from 23 to 27 August on the east coast of Spain, in Valencia, the "little sister" of the Olympic city Barcelona, experienced a sensational outcome:
The fivefold success of a 16-year-old German schoolgirl, who, after four apparatus titles with all-around gold, was crowned the most successful German gymnast and World Gymnastics Queen. In one fell swoop she was more successful than the entire historic German World Championships - including the GDR period - of all four World Championships decades together!
<< Germany's Darja VARFOLOMEEV won two World Championships gold medals with hoop and ball on the first day of the finals and relegated the defending champion Sofia RAFFAELI (ITA) to silver place. After her successful title defence with the clubs, she also won the ribbon on the second day of the finals - an almost unbelievable quadruple World Championships apparatus success for a German gymnast (!) in historic dimensions - last year's winner Raffaeli came in a medal-less fourth here.
* In the all-around preliminary competition, which is important for the Olympic qualification, the German champion is also in second place behind Stiliana Nikolova (BUL), followed by Sofia Raffaeli (ITA) and Borjana Kaleyn (BUL) and Varfolomeev is also the top gold favourite of the all-around final on Saturday ...:
* * The victories in the group finals on the final day (Sunday, Aug. 27)  went to CHINA (5 hoops) and all-around world champion ISRAEL (combined exercise; see below).

  - Already her first day in the finals brought two gold medals (hoop & ball). After her successful defence of the title with the clubs, the victory with the ribbon followed on the second day of the finals - already an almost unbelievable, fourfold World Championships apparatus success of a German gymnast in historic dimensions - last year's winner Sofia Raffaeli came in a medal-less fourth. And due to the sovereignty of her presentation, her above-average technical difficulty increases, which she was able to present with a strong personality, she did not give the defending champion of the previous year, the Italian Sofia RAFFAELI, a chance, who had to be content with silver, however, in an all-around of superlatives, because she also moved at a breathtaking level!
* In the preliminary competition of the all-around, which is important for the qualification for the Olympic Games, the German champion was still in second place behind Stiliana Nikolova (BUL), followed by Sofia Raffaeli (ITA) and Borjana Kaleyn (BUL). Germany's second gymnast Margarita Kolosov improved to rank 10 and was also qualified for the all-around final ( see below).

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  IND. A L L - A R O U N D 

The ALL-AROUND FINAL --: (Saturday, 2023, August 26)
     ► Final-Qualifiers;   ► Startlist
Who would have thought that even before the all-around final, the 16-year-old student from Schmiden in Germany, Darja Varfolomeev, could be considered the favourite for the gold medal in the all-around? Even though she still had the Bulgarian Stiliana Nikolova in front of her after the preliminaries and the defending champion Sofia Raffaeli (ITA) seemed not to be in last year's form, in the end the unexpected golden fivefold success, concluded with the all-around crown, is of absolutely historic dimension:

The gold final results of the four-time apparatus world champion Varfolomeev already showed in their substantial value not only her top competition form, but were also based on the increased and mastered contents and difficulties that she has worked out with her coach Yulia Raskina. Although so much can happen in this aesthetic but highly demanding technical discipline, in the end hopes and possibilities were not disappointed in front of an exciting and top-class medal match in front of an enthusiastic audience!
It almost goes without saying that medals and placings cannot be disqualified with petty error analyses! The aesthetic little "works of art for the moment" of all the finalists were far too valuable and top-class for that!
But one thing became clear with this example - even if it was surprising in rhythmic gymnastics: top performances are possible in Germany, too, if conditions are created to orientate oneself towards international standards!
So the coach Yulia RASKINA and her protégé not only increased the average difficulty values (D) by 2.25 points per routine (!) compared to the previous year's World Championships in Sofia, but Darja also conjured them up on the current World Championships mat in Valencia in  a technically sovereign and expressive manner!
Her closest competitor defending all-around world champion Sofia Raffaeli, on the other hand, lacked these substances, at least in this dimension: in the same period of time she only achieved an increase in the difficulty index of 1 point per routine - with all her world class, that is "almost stagnation".
This is how successes are achieved in the end, even in unusually high dimensions ...! Chapeau, Darja & Yulia!
The second German gymnas in the (B-group Final, Margarita Kolosov from Potsdam did not remain flawless this time after losing the ball and thus fell slightly behind (125.800), but this meant 12th place at the end of the A-group-Final. But the 15th placed gymnast of last year's World Championships in Sofia had improved her score by no less than 10 points (!), which is rightly rewarded with an Olympic starting place and clearly underlines the German gymnasts' will to perform!

VARFOLOMEEV, Darja  GER)  = 137,450
RAFFAELI, Sofia                (ITA) = 135,700
ATAMANOV, Daria             (ISR) = 131,400
     4. NIKOLOVA, Stiliana   (BUL) = 130,650
     5. IKROMOVA, Takmina (UZB) = 130,400
     6. KALEYN, Boryana  (BUL) = 129,950
... 12. KOLOSOV, Margarita     (GER) - 155,850
         Detailed Finalresults
                 > Qualification
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AA Qualification:  (August 23/24) -- :
* Day 2--: The results of the all-around qualification are already very exciting
at this World Championships, as it is so important for the Olympic participation this year. After four apparatuses Bulgaria's Stiliana Nikolova (104.300) is in the lead, followed by Darja Varfolomeev (102.600) and defending champion Sofia Raffaeli (101.800), and Borjana Kaleyn (BUL; 101.450) is still part of the chasing trio in fourth place.  Everything still seems to be open here ...!
Potsdam's Margarita Kolosov improved from 12th to 10th place with clubs and ribbon, will also compete in the all-around final and ensured a second Olympic starting place for Germany in Paris with her TOP-TEN placement.
AA - Qualification - final standing

* Day 1  --: After half-time and two apparatuses of the first day of the competition, defending champion Sofia Raffaeli was still in the lead (70.100), followed by Stiliana Nikolova (BUL / 69.850) and Darja Varfolomeev (GER / 69.300). Borjana Kaleyn (BUL), Ekaterina Vedeneeva (SLO) and Alba Bautista followed in the other places.
Margarita Kolosov (GER) is currently in 12th place. In tha AA Final.

* Intermediate All-around results after 2 apparatus:
  > AA Results after Day 1