06. September 2015  
Stuttgart, Germany  

FIG: Five Questions with Natalia Kuzmina,

The Office of the International Gymnastics Federation (F.I.G.) published an interview with its President of the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics Technical Committee Stuttgart (GER), Natalia KUZMINA, Russia, one day before the 34th Worlds of Rhytmic Gymnastics will be open in the Porsche Arena of Stuttgart.
In this function Natalia Kuzmina is in the office of the head referee judge at the these World Championships ...

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   Yana Kudryavtseva (RUS) has been the dominant gymnast of the past two World Championships. What makes her such an exceptional gymnast ?

* Kuzmina: "It's true that she is unique. Yana has exceptional apparatus elements and harmony with music. She has excellent coaches and benefits from wonderful training conditions put in place by the Russian Rhythmic Federation. Its President and Head coach, Irina Viner, has a long-term vision and has put in place an organisation and methods so that the gymnasts are always well prepared. In Russia as well, there are music specialists, specialists for choreography and a big medical center in the vicinity if they need to see doctors. That too is unique."

 What needs to be done to continue to develop Rhythmic outside Europe ?

* Kuzmina: "Courses are one thing, but we also have to think of ways to render our programme more exciting and attractive to all federations. We should revise the code of points in order to support the principle of universality. This idea may seem new, but why not try to develop team Rhythmic Gymnastics competitions for men like they do in Japan? Or pairs with two apparatus? Or Mixed Pairs? There are a lot of ideas coming from our federations. One must know how to evolve. We cannot just leave the situation as it is, because we know that the competition is strong between sports to continue to be part of the Olympic programme."

  Five judges from the 2014 World Rhythmic Championships in Izmir were just sanctioned by the FIG Disciplinary Commission for biased judging. What does this say to you ?

* Kuzmina: "Obviously, we're not happy about this. We have fought to have fair, objective judging in Rhythmic Gymnastics. We should organise a more practical education system for new judges. The judges from Asia or South America especially don't have a lot of opportunity to get experience. All the judges must be objective and honest. A judge must judge only what he or she sees, without taking into account the name of the gymnast or which country or continent she comes from. But I think that over the years we have made progress. It's not enough to penalize the judges, because judges are only human and they make errors. The main thing is educating them and then giving them ample practice."

  The FIG Rhythmic Technical Committee is preparing a new code of points for the 2017-2020 Olympic cycle. What changes would you like to see in the new code ?

* Kuzmina: "That's a difficult question. We would like to eliminate the repetition of elements. We have a special scientific workgroup that has done some research and collected a lot of data. The important thing is the handling of the apparatus, because we are a sport that uses apparatus. So we would like to focus on the manipulation of the apparatus as well as the artistic side of the sport: the use of music and how the gymnast works with it. That's what I hope to see in the future."
* Source: f i g  press release