Simona Peycheva (BUL) -
in the end the hoop rolled away...

Exciting fight for the medals

Alina Kabaeva has been the favorite after having won the qualification already very clearly and also today she was clearly in the lead from the beginning on. She made her almost obligatory small mistake with the hoop but due to the great distance of her score from the score of the other gymnasts that didn't matter much. It may remain unsettled if the distance to Tamara Yerofeeva in this amount of points is justified but the ranking in general is absolutely all right and confirms the performances of the best European gymnasts this season. Having the memories of the ECh's in Saragossa 2000 in mind where everyone spoke about a "scandal European Championships", this can be remarked positively and it is good that there are almost no reasons to raise this topic again.

Although the strongest rival of Kabaeva, her team mate Irina Tchachina, has not competed in Granada, Alina's performance remains extraordinary - To be the dominating gymnast for more than 5 years is unique in the recent history of rhythmic gymnastics.

Anna Bessonova (UKR) -
happy with bronze

In general, the all-around final has been of a very high sportive level. Especially the clubs routine of Kabaeva, Yerofeeva's hoop routine or also the rope routine of Bessonova will be remembered as extraordinary highlights. The decision in the exciting fight for the bronze medal became very tight when the hoop of the usually so safely competing Simona Peycheva rolled away. It seems that Anna Bessonova was a bit luckier today as she won the bronze medal despite of two mistakes: Anyway, those two gymnasts which are so different in their expression certainly will have further exciting fights for medals and ranks in future - much to the pleasure of the audience in the whole World. In general it is very good to see that among the absolutely best gymnasts of the World so many different types of gymnasts in their expression and presentation can be found - even despite of the difficult judging rules. This underlines their greatness even more.

Top-performances of the top ten

Today wasn't the best day for Zarina Gizikova - she made mistakes with both apparatus in the first part of the competition and reached the 5th place in the end - not the worst but a typical Russian start at European Championships… This were her first European Championships and she takes the team gold medal and her 5th place in the all-around home with her.
Although having reached this rank also at the World Championships in Madrid Inna Shukova on the 6th place has much improved in her expression. She is more elegant and presents her routines softer now and nonetheless shows also the perfect Belorussian school of technique. As the only gymnast from group B, her team mate Svetlana Rudalova managed to improve on rank 8 - a little compensation for the 4th place in the team competition which was quite a disappointment for the RG-nation Belarus.

Jennifer Colino (ESP)

Svetlana Rudalova (BLR) >>>

The hosts convinced also in the individual all-around with very good performances: The crowd cheered a lot for whirlwind Jennifer Colino (10th!) and the grande dame Almudena Cid Tostado, with 22 years also one of the oldest participants of these Championships, reached the 7th place and watching her has once again been a pleasure for everyone who likes RG.

Remarkable is also the ranking of the two Austrian gymnasts. According to coach Birgit Schielin, who is being remembered as a former gymnast also, even the qualification for this field of 26 gymnasts has been a big success. So their ranking in today's all-around is an even greater one: Hanna Oberhofer became 21st and Caroline Weber 24th.

Good Bye Granada - Welcome to Riesa 2003

After this impressive ECh's in Granada it now has to be looked into the future: The next European Championships - groups seniors and juniors, individual apparatus finals of the 16 best senior individual gymnasts on each apparatus at this ECh's - will take place in Riesa on April 4th - 6th, 2003. The RG-fans in Germany can look forward to it not only due to the World class gymnasts which can be expected but also because the newly-formatted German group will be back on the international scene then. Furthermore, the German gymnastics Federation as being the host will also have a spot in the competition of the individual gymnasts.

Translation: Lisa Worthmann



The succesful Russian team - Utiacheva (R), Kabaeva, Gizikova, Sessina (v.l.)

Natalia Godunko (UKR)

Team competition: Victory of the favorites and a high sportive level

The atmosphere at the 2nd day of the European Championships in Granada has been great: With their Spanish temper the fans in the venue accompanied the best gymnasts who competeted today in group A for the team victory and the qualification for the individual all-around final. They were thanked for it with great performances; the whole group A presented a high sportive level and only very few mistakes. Quick and all in all fair scores completed this image - altogether quite a good advertising for rhythmic gymnastics.

The victory of the Russian team had been expected and it has not been in danger, despite of the missing by Irina Tchachina - the scores alone for super star Alina Kabaeva have been up to one point higher than for the other gymnasts. With an altogether excellent sportive level, her performance still has not been that spectacular anymore, her expression not that fascinating as it had been in previous years. With the hoop she made her almost obligatory mistake - this apparatus is quite a trauma for her after the crucial drop of it at the Olympic Games in Sydney. She anyway has presented herself experienced and with her very own expression until the end. She is and will remain extraordinary with her kind of performance. After her perfomance today, everything else than a victory tomorrow in the individual all-around would be a surprise. Strong and safe except for the last apparatus: Zarina Gizikova, who has become well-known in the Grand Prix series through her succint performances, made a mistake with the clubs in the last routine of the competition. This didn't endanger the superior victory of the Russia team but spoiled her personal outcome of this competition. Also the very good performance with the rope by Vera Sessina enabled the Russian success.

World Champion Tamara Yerofeeva presented an absolutely brilliant competition - elegant, sovereign, without mistakes in the execution - a more than good omen for tomorrow; she is in extremly good form. Her team mate Anna Bessonova, who had received better results than Tamara quite often at big tournaments recently, partly couldn't gain control of her nerves today. However, she managed to improve during the competition. Finally, it became a convining victory of the silver medal for the two gymnasts and their team mate Natalia Godunko.

Bulgaria's new star Simona Peycheva and her younger team mate Elisabeth Paissieva in the end managed to secure managed to secure the bronze medal. They had to fight for it alone and all of their routines counted for the final score of the team result. Compliments to those 2 gymnasts who already last year have managed to bring back new glory to Bulgarian RG. Simona's aim is a medal in tomorrow's all-around and, considering her performance of today, that should be possible.

The "loosers" of this team finale are the gymnasts from Belarus whose aim it had been to win a medal and who had won the silver medal at the last European Championships. But even without the big mistake of Elena Ossiadovskaya with the ball they wouldn't have managed to realise their aim. This is probably a disappointment for the ambitious team with the 6th placed gymnast of the last World Championships Inna Shukova (very good performance and with much improved expression!) and the elegant Svetlana Rudalova.

Elisabeth Paissiewa -
won the bronze medal with
Simona Peycheva

Katja Piesetzky (ISR)

Eleni Andriola (GRE)

Almudena Cid Tostado (ESP)

The gymnasts from Greece made a strong impression on rank 6 - here, in view of the Olympic Games, very intensive work is being done with a visible success.

The Spanish gymnasts barely managed to secure rank 5. However, they presented an interesting mix of charming female expression (Almudena Cid Tostado) and young livelyness (Jennifer Colino) to their home crowd which cheered for it accordingly.

Translation: Lisa Worthmann

Reports from former European Championships

European Championships 1999, Budapest (HUN)

European Championships 2000, Zaragoza (ESP)

European Championships 2001, Geneva (SUI)