Dina Averina of Russia became the 2017 World All-around champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics Friday, bringing her gold medal count to three on the final night of individual competition at the first World Championships of the new Olympic cycle. Dina’s biggest competition for the title was her identical twin sister Arina, who finished with silver.
With their World title count tied at two heading into the All-around final, Dina and Arina Averina went head to head once more for the overall crown. Over the course of the four event final, Dina built a slow but steady lead over her older sister, eventually sealing the title with a strong and graceful performance with the Ribbon.
The latest in a long line of Russian Rhythmic princesses, the 19-year-old Averina twins have proven nearly untouchable in international competition all year. At the apogee of the season in Pesaro, with one or the other accounting for all five individual World titles, they lived up to the expectations of a country that has developed a taste for gold in the discipline.
Second bronze for Ashram
Twenty four hours after winning Israel’s second ever individual World medal in Rhythmic Gymnastics, Linoy Ashram gave the country its third. As other medal contenders faltered, the 18-year-old kept her cool during each of her four difficult routines. A small bobble with a Club didn’t keep her from clinching bronze with a jazzy, crowd pleasing exercise to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The immense difficulty of Ashram’s programme helped her edge Belarus’s Katsiaryna Halkina and Japan’s Kaho Minagawa. Rounding out the top six, the USA’s Laura Zeng delivered the highest ever finish for an American gymnast in a Rhythmic World All-around final.
Awards for Italy
They may not have earned medals, but Italians Alexandra Agiurgiuculese (eighth) and Milena Baldassarri (ninth) won the hearts of their countrymen with their dynamic performances at the Adriatic Arena. Agiurgiuculese’s imaginative routines also captured the attention of the jury of the Longines Prize for Elegance, a special award given to a selected gymnast who demonstrates elegance on and off the competition floor.
As Agiurgiuculese became the first Italian Rhythmic gymnast ever to be honoured with the Longines Prize, which includes a Longines timepiece and trophy, Baldassarri received the Alina Kabaeva Award, bestowed on her by the 2004 Olympic champion and FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics Ambassador herself.