Festival of beauty, grace and supreme professional mastery
Belarusian gymnasts capture nine medals at Minsk’s European Championship: one gold, four silver and four bronze awards
Our team already boasts a European Championship silver but their brilliant performance on the last day earned them an incredible 16,733 points. Appearing third, they had to watch the other five teams before learning the results. Gymnasts, coaches and fans anticipated the Russian squad’s performance with trepidation but, in fact, the rival team ended on 16,600 points. Belarusian graces Karina Yermolenko, Alina Gornosko, Margarita Ovadinskaya, Anastasia Rybakova, Anna Shvaiba and Alexandra Solodukha are thus the new European champions. Silver went to the Russians and the Bulgarian team captured bronze.
After the awards ceremony, our beauties admitted that they could hardly believe their victory, saying only that they were delighted to have been successful and ‘not let our country down’. “It hasn’t yet sunk in that we’re now European champions. Our victory is only possible due to the work of coaches, choreographers and, definitely, fans. Never before have we performed with such great support from fans. We hope we did not disappoint them,” the girls explained modestly.
The closing day programme continued with final performances by individual gymnasts: eight competing for each medal. The hoop event opened the competition, with two of our Belarusian graces claiming medals: Melitina Stanyuta won silver and Yekaterina Galkina captured bronze. Gold went deservedly to Russia’s Margarita Mamun, who committed not a single error. In the ball routine, Russian Yana Kudryavtseva’s routine won the day (being acknowledged as one of the best in the world), although she slightly lagged behind her teammate, Margarita Mamun, in the qualification exercises. Yana steamed through in the finals to win gold, with Margarita being obliged to accept silver. Bronze went to Melitina Stanyuta and Yekaterina Galkina was placed fourth.
Our Belarusian gymnasts won two bronze medals in the club exercises: Yekaterina Galkina and Melitina Stanyuta both claimed 18,033 points. Russia’s Yana Kudryavtseva took gold and silver went to Ukraine’s Anna Rizatdinova. In the ribbon event, Yana again won gold, while silver went to Melitina Stanyuta and bronze to Azerbaijan’s Marina Durunda. Although Marina had just 17,900 points, while Yekaterina Galkina had 17,950, the Azerbaijani team lodged an objection, which allowed Durunda’s performance to be re-judged, and she received 18 points, setting her ahead of the Belarusian.
Overall, our Belarusian gymnasts won nine medals at the European championship: one gold, four silver and four bronze. Melitina Stanyuta alone captured five medals: three silver and two bronze. Yekaterina Galkina won one silver and two bronze. The head coach of the Belarusian team, Irina Leparskaya, is delighted, saying, “We aimed to win at least two medals but have so many that I can hardly count them! The girls are great, having done their best. We are full of emotions: tired but extremely happy!”
The Minsk championship was organised at a high level, as noted by Georges Guelzec, the President of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG), at the closing ceremony. He emphasised, “I send my congratulations and gratitude to the delegations, gymnasts and coaches who demonstrated a world class show. On behalf of the European Union of Gymnastics, I’d love to thank the organisational committee, its volunteers, the technical committee and judges for their work in accepting and supporting 37 delegations. We return home with memories of a fantastic event. You are great!” The 31st European Championship closed with a gala-performance: The Show of World Gymnastic Stars.
By Yegor Glebov