Fields of Gold. ('D'una volta in Terre d'oru').
Who are the coming golden competitors of the 2002 French Internationals?
Raducan or Cojocar, the best today Romanian gymnasts? Perhaps... if they are in good shape and if the serenity has came back in Deva. The great pretenders are the Russian girls, Ziganshina and Zamolodchikova. Both know they now are the virtual leaders of the Russian team. The Krugloye National center will be renovated soon, obviously the results of Khorkina and her teammates since several years have motivated the Sports minister and the Russian government to allocate the budget. Then it's a motivation more for Elena and Natalia.
The French girls get the opportunity to match against somes of the best World competitors and to gain experience on the senior level. The so talented juniors , Gaelle Richard and Emilie Lepennec can display their improvments.
Delphine Regease, steady and powerful young blonde, owns the qualities to create a surprise entering finals on Beam and Bars and why not having a medal on Beam. It'd be a fantastic achievement for this nice girl who only joined the elite level in 1998 at the age of 14 years!
The rhythmics competitions are clearly opened between the Belarus Elena Tkachenko (6th at the 2002 Corbeil Essonne Tournament), Liasan Outiacheva from Russia, 16 years old and a impressive style, she is the coming Russian rhythmics star. Outsiders can try to enter the podium ranks like Almudena Cid Tostado (9th at the last Worlds), Anna Bessonova, Tamara Yerofeevea (both from Ukrainia) and Laura Zacchili from Italy.
The French gymnasts are Aurelie Lacour, 18 years old, current national champion, Florence Meynard, 16 years old, 3rd at the French nationals, Delphine Ledoux, 17 years old, 2nd at the French nationals. The only real opportunities are in the Aurelie's hands, experienced, strong and mastering her risks taking.
Alina Kabayeva and Irina Chaschina are back in competition!
Irina won the Berlin Grand Prix Event (September 8th 2002).
1: Irina Chaschina (Russia) with 112.375pts.
2: Simona Peycheva (Bulgaria) with 110.650 pts.
3: Alina Kabayeva (Russia) with 109.950 pts.
An event dominated by the Russian competitors with five gymnasts on the top eight results table!
Gizikova 5th, Sessina 7th and Manuilova 8th display the high level of the Russian rhythmics.
Of course we don't forget the last year ban is only suspended for Alina and Irina, both gymnasts ingested banned products (twice for Irina!). The FIG suspended both girls for one year. They turn appeal to the Lausanne Court of Arbitration in Sports. Such appeal suspends the FIG decision.
The rhythmics universe is now waiting. We easily guess the loss of credibility for both girls and especially their 'advisers' if they lose the appeal decision. Anyway it's a possible way to clean up the rhythmics universe of the excessive medical influence!! (and of the hypocrisy too as it was told some years ago by a famous French champion of the early 90's)
Remember the FIG had to suspend judges after the Groups Worlds held in Usa, and in the suspended judges was a newcomer named Larissa Lukianenko!! Then the R.G. credibility will depend on the coming events. We hope to not watch underhand practices again.
*Elena Vitrichenko, the beautiful Elena who delighted all gym fans from 1994 to 2000, gave birth to a baby boy in early september in Barcelona. Elena and her mother Nina are both working with the rhythmics Spain team as coaches.
*Oksana Skaldina, the famous Ussr Star of the early 90's is today living in Moscow. She is working as a rhythmics coach.
*Amina Zaripova, Russian star of the mid 90's, got married in September to Alexei Kortniev, Russian singer.
*Laura Zacchili (Italy) comes in Paris to participate at the 2002 French Internationals.
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