Melitina Stanyuta and her team perform well

Belarusian athletes climb medals podium five times during Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup, hosted by Minsk
By Dmitry Baranovsky

This responsible start (in the previous years) represented double responsibility for this year’s entrants. After the Olympic Games in London many teams have drastically changed their lines-up and the struggle for the place under the capricious gymnastic sun only begins. The future European Championship should dot all the ‘i’s, so the World Cup stage in Minsk became a general rehearsal of the major start. The struggle on the carpet was super-intensive.

Of course, Melitina Stanyuta was in the limelight. After Lyubov Cherkashina finished her professional career the girl, who showed promise just recently, became an absolute leader of the Belarusian squad. Melitina confirmed this status with two victories and a bronze medal in the all-round event during the Grand Prix in Minsk. Meanwhile, we could have had more awards if Melitina hadn’t lost the ball and the hoop. Of course, she was very upset, yet these mistakes are only a sad episode. Melitina’s true class is no longer a secret for either her fans or judges.

Meanwhile, her teammates are much more intriguing and mysterious characters: Yekaterina Galkina, Maria Kadobina and Arina Sharapa. None of representatives of the new generation of Belarusian rhythmic gymnasts managed to enter the medals podium yet their major task was to earn the authority rather than awards. The recognition by opponents means a lot in gymnastics and the Belarusian graces have managed to do a solid claim for the future. Even head coach of the Russian national team Irina Vinner – one of the most authoritative figures in contemporary gymnastics, noted promising prospects of prize-holder of the Junior Olympic Games, Arina Sharapa, when musing on the prospects of this sport. Nevertheless, the Russian national squad is still a favourite on the carpet. The team, which was left without its leaders (Yevgenia Kanaeva and Darya Dmitrieva) in Minsk was again first in all competitions. It’s likely that this tendency will preserve for the whole Olympic cycle.

The Belarusian youngsters are doing just their first steps to the peak in personal competitions, getting Melitina Stanyuta to defend the country’s honour, while our squad demonstrated good results in group exercises, where two experienced athletes were joined by yesterday’s juniors. They came second in the all-round winning the exercise with two balls and three ribbons. “By the World Championship the Belarusian national team will represent a single and harmonious squad,” promises head coach Irina Leparskaya at a press conference. Anyway, the Belarusian girls do have their well-coordinated team now and they are sure to win many medals in future.
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