All-Around reigning world champion Sofia Raffaeli and Group All-Around 2022 World Championships runners-up Israel, emerged victorious in the first finals in Palaio Faliro and thus share the honour to become the first 2023 FIG World Cup winners.
Sofia Raffaeli’s dazzling and convincing performance with the Clubs ensured that the five-time world champion would be the Queen of the Individual All-Around competition in the first leg of the 2023 FIG World Cup series held in Faliro.
The Italian got 33.250 for her Clubs routine, far better than the respective scores of her closest rivals, Stiliana Nikolova (29.950) and Boryana Kaleyn (29.450), and built a gap that was impossible for the Bulgarians to bridge.
All three medal contenders performed last with the Ribbon in Group C, and although Nikolova earned the highest score with 32.550, Raffaelli’s 131.750 total, was pretty hard to match. In the end Nikolova fell 2.200 points behind, with 129.550 and Kaleyn further back with 127.600.
With the Group B gymnasts yet to perform in the last two disciplines, the three potential medallists had to wait for a couple of hours until the final classification was determined.
Polina Karika topped Group B with a total of 123.400, a score that placed her in the 5th place of the overall standings, meaning Raffaeli won the 2023 first World Cup gold, Nikolova was second and Kaleyn third.
“I am glad because this was the first competition for 2023. I made some mistakes though and I hope I won’t repeat them tomorrow.
“The organisation here is excellent, I love Greece so much. My next goal is the World Cup in Sofia”, said Raffaeli, while Nikolova cited: “I am satisfied with my performance, although I could have done better. It is still the beginning of the season and I hope I’ll better at the World Cup that will be held in my home country”.
Boriana Kaleyn felt great as well with the medal she won: “The bronze gives me great joy, considering that I was sick and missed 3-4 training sessions. It’s been a great World Cup so far and I’m looking forward to the next one in Sofia”.
Besides the three medallists, Margarita Kolosov, Ekaterina Vendeeva, and Elzhana Taniyeva were the other three gymnasts qualified to both the Clubs and the Ribbon finals.
Panagiota Lytra was the best amongst Greeks, ranked 16th with a total of 116.700, and qualified for the Clubs final with the sixth best score to earn a big applause by the local spectators who flocked to the Faliro Olympic Indoor hall and offered a warm support to all the World Cup participants. Maria Dervisi was 39th with 99.200.
A total of 48 gymnasts started the event.
The top-eight gymnasts in the Individual All-Around:
1. Sofia RAFFAELI ITA 131.750
2. Stiliana NIKOLOVA BUL 129.550
3. Boryana KALEYN BUL 127.600
4. Takhmina IKROMOVA UZB 125.300
5. Polina KARIKA UKR 123.400
6. Margarita KOLOSOV GER 122.750
7. Ekaterina VEDENEEVA SLO 122.100
8. Polina BEREZINA ESP 120.850
Here’s the list with the Clubs and the Ribbon qualifiers:
1. Sofia RAFFAELI ITA 33.250
2. Margarita KOLOSOV GER 30.850
3. Takhmina IKROMOVA UZB 30.650
4. Polina BEREZINA ESP 30.550
5. Polina KARIKA UKR 30.250
6. Panagiota LYTRA GRE 30.100
7. Ekaterina VEDENEEVA SLO 30.000
8. Elzhana TANIYEVA KAZ 29.950
1. Stiliana NIKOLOVA BUL 32.550
2. Boryana KALEYN BUL 32.000
3. Sofia RAFFAELI ITA 31.000
4. Evita GRISKENAS USA 30.800
5. Elzhana TANIYEVA KAZ 30.550
6. Ekaterina VEDENEEVA SLO 30.300
7. Margarita KOLOSOV GER 30.300
8. Adi Asya KATZ ISR 30.250
Israel’s group 5 Hoops performance was enough to hold off Bulgaria’s surge to deny them the first place.
Speaking on behalf of her teammates Israel’s Romy Paritzky said: “We have been working on our routines for a long time and it gives us great joy to be in first place. We are also happy that we have different routines and we owe it to our choreographer.
“The World Cup here in Palaio Faliro is very well-organised and we’ve enjoyed all five days we are here.
“Better not to talk about our next goals. One step at a time”.
A nicely executed 3 Ribbons/2 Balls routine by the Balkan team was not enough to seal victory in the Group’s All-Around competition, as Israel’s 28.950 score and a total of 65.450 brought them on the gold medal place, nevertheless the Bulgarians are satisfied with the outcome according to Rachel Stoyanov: “We are very happy with the silver medal and we hope to have an even better presence tomorrow.
“What gives us even more joy is that we present truly original routines and we owe this to our coaches Vesela Dimitrova and Mihaela Maevska.
Our next goal is in ten days, the World Cup in Sofia”.
Poland were really great with the 3 Ribbons + 2 Balls, beating the scores of all teams but Israel, but it was Brazil that secured the bronze medal, their first ever at a World Cup, regardless of their fourth-place finish today.
Brazil’s Duda Arakaki explained: “This is a historic moment for Brazilian rhythmic gymnastics as we won our first medal. We are all very happy with it and will continue the hard work.
“The venue here is wonderful, everything works perfectly and we definitely want to come back to Greece”.
The hosts might not have won a medal in the Group All-Around competition, but the encouraging performance of the team with the 3 Ribbons + 2 Balls helped them finish in the seventh place and they also secured qualification to both Sunday’s Group finals.
Group All-Around final ranking
1. Israel 36.500 28.950 65.450
2. Bulgaria 33.950 30.750 64.700
3. Brazil 35.000 28.850 63.850
4. Italy 34.850 27.850 62.700
5. Ukraine 34.800 27.800 62.600
6. Poland 33.450 29.050 62.500
7. Greece 33.050 28.200 61.250
8. France 31.250 27.100 58.350
Here’s the list with the 3 Ribbons/2 Balls qualifiers:
3 Ribbons + 2 Balls
1. Bulgaria 30.750
2. Poland 29.050
3. Israel 28.950
4. Brazil 28.850
5. Greece 28.200
6. Italy 27.850
7. Ukraine 27.800
8. France 27.100
The apparatus finals have been scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 19 starting from 3 pm. Last day’s action will be broadcast live by www.ertflix.gr on ERT Sports 3 channel.
Day 2 Photos (photographer: Klodian Lato / Eurokinissi):