Thursday, July 28, 2016

Russia’s Partial Ban to Have a Minimal Effect on South Korea’s Rhythmic Gymnastics

The decision of the International Olympic Committee not to impose a blanket ban on Russia from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will most likely have a little impact on the medal race of the South Korean athletes.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee has decided to deny the calls from the athletes and anti-doping agencies to ban all the Russian athletes from the Olympic Games due to the alleged state-sponsored doping in the country. The IOC instead passed the decision to individual sports federations.

According to the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, the international sports governing bodies will have the full authority to disqualify athletes who will be proven guilty of the doping scheme.  

Some of the international sports federation has already started to test the eligibility of their athletes. Due to the rampant doping in the track and field event, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already decided to ban the Russian team from the sport. Meanwhile, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) issued a one-year suspension on Russia in June.

The South Korean athletes, however, is not expected to compete in those sports, and will only compete against Russia on those sports where the country is less likely to be banned, thus minimizing the impact of the IOC’s decision.

A blanket ban will most likely have a huge impact in rhythmic gymnastics, where Russia has a lot of competitive athletes. The absence of the two Russian rhythmic stars, three-time World All-around Champion Yana Kudryavtseva and two-time World All-around silver medalist Margarita Mamun, would have made Korea’s Son Yeon Jae the second highest-ranking gymnast in Rio behind Ukraine’s Ganna Rizatdinova, giving the Korean a chance to take home the country’s first rhythmic gymnastics Olympic medal.

Unfortunately for the South Koreans, but doping is almost non-existent in the sport, which means that the Russian athletes are less likely to be excluded in this event. Russia’s best rhythmic gymnast, Yana Kudryavtseva, will take this special opportunity to win her first Olympic title.

But the presence of the Russian gymnasts at the Olympic Games doesn’t mean that the medal podium is out of South Korea’s reach. Son Yeon Jae, South Korea’s top-performing gymnast is well known for displaying impressive performances in each of her appearances, allowing her to break her personal records at a consistent rate. We don’t know for sure how much she has improved by now, so be ready to be surprised at the Rio Olympic Games.

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio will take place in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21, 2016.

Be updated with the most relevant news regarding the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games and gymnastics by following our official blogs and social media sites. Enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy and experience the most fun and exciting way to learn gymnastics for kids J

Friday, July 22, 2016

Azerbaijan Boosts Competence in Gymnastics

Over the past few years, Azerbaijan has made a pretty huge step towards the development of gymnastics in the country. Several of their national gymnasts have managed to participate and display strong performances in various international competitions. Moreover, the country has a history of hosting a number of big sporting events.

Noha Abou Shabana, a technical delegate of the International Gymnastics Federation, has witnessed the development of the sport in the country. She noted that Azerbaijan has become really serious towards the progress of gymnastics in the country that it has managed to establish its own competitive school.

Dress Rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony
Dress Rehearsal of the FIG World Cup Final's Opening Ceremony

She also mentioned that Azerbaijan is more than ready to host the FIG World Cup Final in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She noted that the country has great experience in organizing competitions and their organizers are truly an expert in their field. 

The National Gymnastics Arena in Baku is very well prepared to host the competition, Abou Shabana said, adding that the organizers and the Gymnastics Federation of Azerbaijan have done an impressive work. 

The FIG Technical Delegate mentioned that the country has already managed to develop its own basis; it has a very competitive gymnastics school and only few countries have such facilities with excellent conditions. 

FIG World Cup Final’s Opening Ceremony to Feature Azerbaijan’s Beauties

The athletes and audiences will have the opportunity to witness the natural attractions of Azerbaijan as the national gymnasts aim to exhibit the country’s beauties at the opening ceremony of the FIG World Cup Final in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Baku. 

“We would like to display Azerbaijan’s beauties at the opening ceremony,” said Mariana Vasileva, the country’s national head coach and the director of the competition’s opening ceremony.

Mariana Vasileva

“Most of our guest have been to Baku before and have seen its beauties,” Vasileva said. “There are many places in Azerbaijan which are worth seeing.”

She mentioned that the opening ceremony’s composition is based on the novella “The Little Prince”, which is written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

“The composition will last 20 minutes and will be accompanied by Azerbaijani national music,” she said. 

The FIG World Cup Final in Rhythmic Gymnastics will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on July 22-24, giving the national crowd a chance to witness the strong performances of the participants two weeks before the start of the Rio Olympics. 

A total of 26 gymnasts and 9 teams will participate at the first two days of the competition to fight for the all-around medals. The apparatus event finals will take place on the event’s last day.

The first day of the competition will feature a magnificent opening ceremony, directed by the national head coach Mariana Vasileva, followed by the traditional Gala on the final day of the competition in Baku.

Keep up with the latest news and updates in the world of gymnastics by following our official blog sites. Learn gymnastics for kids in the most fun and exciting way, come and enroll today here at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy! :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Laura Halford Takes Home Third Consecutive National Title

For a third year in a row, the 20-year-old British rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford has achieved another victory at the Welsh Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships held at the Sport Wales National Center last weekend.

She is now preparing for the British Championships, where she will aim to defend her continental title and win it for the fourth year in a row. 

Laura Halford Welsh Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships

In September, the 20-year-old athlete moved away from home to study at the university in Cardiff and she is now training full time. Just recently, she was featured as the cover girl in the most recent edition of the sport’s official digital magazine “Gymnast”.

The athlete told the magazine: “I think I have already improved as a gymnast. Having a structure to the week with ballet and strength and conditioning sessions has made me stronger which of course benefits my routines. 

“Away from training eight of us live together, four rhythmic girls and four artistic girls in a shared house next to the national centre. We have a house parent who looks after us.”

Due to her failure to acquire a qualification spot for the Rio Olympic Games in August, and with the absence of the World Championships this season, Halford said that her biggest target for this year is the British Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships that will take place in Liverpool at the end of July. 

“Of course, for many of us the long-term aim is the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.” She added.

Laura Halford medals

Laura Halford is known for her impressive performances at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where she won the team event silver with Wales and took home two individual bronze medals in the Ball and All-around event.

The 2016 Rhythmic British Championships will start on 28th of July and will continue until the 31st of July, 2016. The competition will take place at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Japanese Superstar Uchimura Determined to Win the Team Gold in Rio

Despite the extreme pressure that is weighed upon his muscular shoulders, Japanese artistic gymnastics superstar Kohei Uchimura remained firm and shrugged off the pressure. 

“I don’t think of it as a pressure”, the six-time World gold All-around medalist told the Japan times. “I don’t think about what will happen if I made a mistake – I think about how the team will benefit if I’m successful. 

“A lot of people wish me well and say to me: ‘Bring home the gold medal.’ I want to respond to those expectations and that makes me stronger. I only think in positive terms, and that’s why I have become good at dealing with the pressure.”

Uchimura’s goal is to lead his teammates to Olympic team gold – a feat last achieved by the Japanese team in 2004. Another objective of “King Kohei” is to defend his All-around title, while also cementing his reputation as the greatest gymnast of all time. 

The Japanese national team – which includes Uchimura, Yusuke Tanaka, Ryohei Kato, Kenzo Shira and Koji Yamamuro – advances to Rio with a high after finally achieving a feat never done in the past 37 years – to win a team title at a World Championship. 

The Japanese crowd is expecting another strong performance from the Japanese team in Rio in August, which will hopefully end China’s two straight winning streak at the Olympic Games (2008, 2012), but Uchimura is happy to stay above the fray. 

“It’s not that I try to make myself calm, it just happens naturally through experience,” said the Japanese superstar. “I don’t get so excited by the Olympics nowadays. There’s no special feeling. I even feel a little sad for myself that I’m not able to feel anything special about competing in the Olympics.”

“But I think that’s probably a good thing. I don’t think it’s good for your performance to feel different just because it’s the Olympics.”

In his third Olympic participation, Kohei Uchimura has been assigned as team leader of the Japanese men’s artistic team, and Tanaka has noticed a change in his teammate.

“He has more conversations with everyone now,” said the 26-year-old Tanaka, who was a member of the silver medal-winning team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London 4 years ago along with Uchimura, Kato, Yamamuro and Kazuhito Tanaka.

“Everyone has more experience as a team. Of course when you’re performing you’re on your own, but really, you’re not alone. Because everyone has more experience as a team, it creates an atmosphere that makes it easier to perform.”

Four years ago, the Japanese national team took the silver medal from Britain after lodging a last-gap appeal against a low score awarded to Uchimura after he failed to properly dismount from the pommel horse. 

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Uchimura believes that this same apparatus can make or break Japan’s gold medal winning potential. 

“We start on the pommel horse, and if we’re successful, we can ride the momentum for the rest of the competition,” he said. “That’s the apparatus that’s easiest to fall off, so if we can do well it will help us to relax as a team. 

“On the other hand, if we fail at the start it could end up being the same as in London. But we’ve picked up a lot of experience since then and we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

In the upcoming Olympic Games, the crowd’s focus will be on the Japanese superstar Kohe Uchimura as he tries to create another historic feat at the competition that will take place this August. 

Uchimura believes that Rio will be the last Olympics where he is at the peak of his physical condition, and the world will be watching with bated breath. 

“I’ve grown up a lot” said the 27-year-old gymnast “I’m usually calm but also I’ve learned how to get people fired up when they need to be fired up. I feel like I’ve become a lot wiser.”

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Canada Names 8-member Gymnastics Squad for 2016 Olympics

On Thursday, Canada named the five female artistic gymnasts and the three trampoline gymnasts that will battle for the Olympic team title in Rio this summer.

Canadian National Championships vault gold medalist Shallon Olsen and 2014 Junior National Champion Rose Woo join Ellie Black, Britanny Rogers and Isabela Onyshko, who were previously named at the national selection camp in Gatineau, Quebec on Wednesday.

They are selected based on the total amount of points they have acquired from the 2015 World Championships, 2016 Elite Canada, 2016 Canadian Championships, some selected international events in February and March, and the camp that took place this week. 

The competition program of women’s artistic gymnastics comprises of Vault event, Uneven Bars event, Beam event and Floor exercise.

In the trampoline gymnastics discipline, three female gymnasts who will be a part of the Olympic team were also named. They were Rosie McLennan, the reigning Olympic Champion in trampoline, and the returning Olympian Jason Burnett, who obtained the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Scott Morgan, who managed to acquire two gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, will make his Olympic debut in men’s artistic gymnastics. 

2011 and 2015 Pan Am Games Champion Rosie MacLennan secured an Olympic spot in March with her success at the Canada Cup in Kamloops. B.C.

“I am incredibly excited to be heading to my third Olympic Games,” said the 27-year old athlete in a statement released by Gymnastics Canada. “It’s always an honor to represent Canada in a sport that I am truly passionate about and to join a team of such amazing athletes and people.”

2008 Olympic silver medalist Jason Burnett will participate in his third Olympic competition after acquiring one of the eight available Olympic berths at the Aquece Rio Test Event in April. 

27-year-old Scott Morgan is the only male artistic gymnast to compete in Rio after the team failed to finish among the top four of eight national teams at the Rio Test Event in April. He finished fourth in the vault apparatus in that event after qualifying for the final at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

“Six years ago, seeing the 2010 Olympians in my hometown of Vancouver sent shivers down my spine” he stated. “Now I can’t wait to be part of the team I looked up to… showing the world Canada’s best.”

Reigning Pan Am Champion

Ellie Black, the reigning champion in the Pan Am Games, finished first in the all-around competition in the opening day of the National Camp on Tuesday. She placed first with her vault and floor routine, and placed third on the beam and uneven bars.

23-year-old gymnast Britanny Rogers represented the University of Georgia at the NCAA Championships which took place this year. She managed to obtain the top spot in the uneven bars. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she helped Canada to achieve a best-ever fifth-place finish in the team competition. 

The 18-year old Isabela Onyshko became the champion in the 2016 Elite Canada competition.

Rose Woo, 16, was the junior national all-around champion in 2014.

Shallon Olsen, 15, who became the junior national all around champion in 2013, is the youngest member of the Canadian national team. 

The women’s team will conduct a final Olympic preparation camp in Sarnia, Ontario one week before proceeding to Rio.

The competition for artistic gymnastics will take place at the Rio Olympic Arena from August 6-16, while the qualification and final round of the women’s and men’s trampoline are scheduled for August 12 and 13, respectively. 

Acquire the latest updates in the world of gymnastics by following our official blog sites. Enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy and enjoy a fun and exciting gymnastics training experience. Come and learn gymnastics for kids with us :)