Play-By-Play: Subdivision 3 - The heavy hitters
Neviana Vladinova, BUL, clubs: This is a routine that should serve Vladinova very well in the coming year. It has everything: fiery Spanish choreography and deeply interesting and original throws and catches. She biffs it at the end, kicking a club several yards away from her on a misfired back walkover throw, then hits her ending pose like nothing happened. 18.95.
Alina Chamzina, CZE, ball: Graceful work from the young Czech in white. Just one concentration error. 16.35.
Kaho Minagawa, JPN, ribbon: The last time we saw Kaho do this routine was in world finals, where she dropped the ribbon literally like seven times and scored sub-12. Thing is that when she does it well, it’s such a good piece. Here it was mediocre, thanks to a knot in the ribbon right before the big crescendo caused her to have to stop everything and fix it. Pity for that, but still better than it was in the Sofia finals, thank goodness. 16.0.
Nicol Voronkov, ISR, hoop: Casual greatness from one of Israel’s rising young stars here. Her work is so clean and precise it’s almost no-nonsense. A slip after a leap, but she carried on well. 17.75.
Seo Goeun, KOR, ball: Capable and pretty performance to a rendition of “California Dreaming.” The next Son Yeon Jae? 15.3.
Ekaterina Vedeneeva, SLO, hoop: So-so beginning for Vedeneeva as she has to reach far back on a catch to save it. 17.15.
Arina Averina, RUS, ball: Huge ovation from the pro-Russian, pro-Averina crowd here. Italian opera this year. Whoops! Ball gets away from her briefly after a leg throw. And twice more just before the end of her routine. Arina makes no attempt to hide her displeasure. 18.65.
Anastasia Salos, BLR, clubs: The promising young Belarusian continues to develop her own style, which in a word might be characterized as playful. Fun routine to “Rebel Just for Kicks.” 19.25.
Valerie Romenski, FRA, ribbon: Strong start for the young Frenchwoman whose music sounds like something from one of the castle levels in Super Mario World. 14.75.
Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, hoop: Soldatova is concentrating really hard, and clutching the hoop with firm fingers. A good start for her, especially given that she appears to have improvised or taken out an element about a minute in (think Sofia World finals with the ribbon and you get an idea.) 21.3.
Salome Pazhava, GEO, hoop: A huge effort from the talented Pazhava with this new routine to Woodkid’s “Run Boy Run.” Technically quite sound, artistically enchanting. Finishes just behind the music. 20.2.
Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB, ribbon: Good start for Tashkenbaeva to Indian music. Intricate work throughout. 17.55.
Neviana Vladinova, BUL, ribbon: Pretty routine to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” a song full of soul. Comes right after Alina Chamzina’s clubs performance to “Daddy Cool.” 17.95.
Kaho Minagawa, JPN, hoop: A soft, pretty exercise, classic Kaho. 19.2.
Ekaterina Vedeneeva, SLO, ball: Lovely classical work but a loss of the ball on a mastery 30 seconds before the end will deflate her score. 16.4.
Arina Averina, RUS, clubs: Russian folk music (and leotard) -- but drops the clubs twice in the first 30 seconds of her routine! One on a concentration error, one actually a hard skill. Arina looks less prepared than her twin so far, though this is the beginning of the season and Dina’s quite superhuman. 20.0.
Salome Pazhava, GEO, ball: Wonderful drama and expression, less wonderful control. You should get bonus points if you manage to make running after the ball that’s gotten away from you look like part of your choreography. A routine to watch to the end though: her final movements are lovely. 16.15.
Anastasia Salos, BLR, ribbon: Pretty work to a rather melancholic piece of music. One drop about 10 seconds into the routine, otherwise very good. 17.7.
Valerie Romenski, FRA, hoop: Lots of potential but a boatload of mistakes in this performance. It will be great when she puts it all together. This is going to be a low score though. 7.3.
Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, ball: Soldatova is really at her best with a routine like this, which allows her to pour her soul and various emotional facial expressions out. Lovely work, plenty of backspins and needle scale pivots and such, but she lacks confidence in herself and occasionally bails on her big elements, improvising and hoping nobody notices. One drop. 19.0.
Salome Pazhava, GEO, clubs: Hard to top her “Joker” routine of the past two years, but Pazhava possibly does. This routine goes in a completely different, very soft direction, but it’s brilliant nonetheless. Passionate and infused with emotion, a new classic from rhythmic’s greatest chameleon. 18.6.
Dina Averina, RUS, clubs: In her quest for a third world title, Dina and her coaches have carefully and wisely chosen an Azerbaijani singer for her clubs routine. (Dina is best at clubs, and this year’s worlds will be held in Baku.) A fun, fast-paced, magical routine, filled with Dina’s signature difficulty. One tiny mistake that was hard to notice. Whatever. Bravo. 22.25.
Nicol Voronkov, ISR, clubs: Understated Spanish piece. Voronkov does everything right, but the routine lacks a bit of fire and soul. Still, 19.0.
Neviana Vladinova, BUL, hoop: Big, dramatic new routine for her here. Hoop gets away from her once. 19.15.
Anastastia Salos, BLR, hoop: A folksy, Flamenco version of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” if that makes sense. Salos has been given the moniker “Belarus’s Little Princess,” and this routine belies both her youth and charm. Well done. 21.35.
Arina Averina, RUS, ribbon: Very dramatic look from Arina for the second year in a row. Quite a departure from the fun folksy routine that made her world champion with the ribbon in 2017, but as with Dina, indicative of a new maturity in her work. 18.9.
Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB, hoop: Lovely work! A lyrical, flowing hoop routine for UZB’s bright new hope. 18.3.
Dina Averina, RUS, ribbon: An Averina twin’s first foray into really exquisite elegance, this piece to Charles Aznavour’s “Une Vie d’Amour” duet with Mireille Mathieu lands well, and opens up a whole new chapter in her artistic evolution. Lovely. 19.2.
Valerie Romenski, FRA, ball: A far, far better performance than she gave with the hoop, showcasing her potential. Music: “There Was a Boy” from Moulin Rouge. 15.65.
Salome Pazhava, GEO, ribbon: A return to her roots with this beautiful routine to Georgian folk music. The first 10 seconds are the best, but the whole thing is great. 18.3.
Dina Averina, RUS, hoop: A masterful new routine from one of the wizards of hoop. Orchestral and well-delivered. Dina thought so too, judging by the fist pump she gave at the end. 22.5.
Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB, ball: Stylish routine to Pink Martini’s “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love,” her best performance of day, possibly. 17.55.
Kaho Minagawa, JPN, clubs: “McCavity” from Cats is Minagawa’s only departure from her soft signature style of her four routines this year. She does showbiz (complete with some clawing of the air) just as well as she does the lyrical stuff. Great routine. 18.6.
Arina Averina, RUS, hoop: Absolutely classic Russian work with the hoop to a big symphonic piece with huge throws and confident catches. Good for her. 22.4.
Anastasia Salos, BLR, ball: Though classically trained, there’s a lot of character and quirkiness in Salos’s movements and expressions, and I can’t help thinking that her choreographers have yet to find something that really fits her to a T -- and that she’s capable of a lot more edgy, avant-garde work than she’s showing. There are glimmers of it in this routine, but her whole artistic expression still feels like a work in progress, somehow. One thing is clear: she’s not going to be your typical rhythmic gymnast. 20.1.
Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, ribbon: Starts with a smile, finishes with a very intense look. This routine is a departure from the soft style she showed last year in winning the world title with this apparatus. 18.4 is far off her mark, however.
Dina Averina, RUS, ball: Intriguing new routine for Dina, who performed a far more modern number to Stravinsky with this apparatus last year. This signals more of a return to her roots. 20.25.
Neviana Vladinova, BUL, ball: She’s kept her “In the Army Now” routine from 2018, a real-crowd pleaser. Terrific skills throughout, a well-placed pirouette sequence, and a stunner of an ending. What more could you want? 19.9.
Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, clubs: No question, with this routine Soldatova makes it clear that she still belongs among the ranks of the Russian greats. A fast-paced, jazzy, blink-and-you’ll-miss something performance worthy of one of the country’s best. 18.4.
Celia Joseph-Noel, FRA, hoop: A little out of control at times, but a most interesting senior debut from France’s most highly anticipated young rhythmic gymnast. 15.2.
Iasmina Agagulian, ARM, ball: Playful routine to “Summertime” from this young Armenian. 16.5.
Denisa Mailat, ROM, clubs: Bruno Mars! This young gymnast has great rhythm and stage presence but needs to work on her pirouettes.
Daria Trubnikova, RUS, hoop: Wearing a leotard that Kudryavetseva wore at the 2013 Worlds marks her out as one of the chosen ones. Gisele a very classical choice of music. Beautifully delivered but not particularly innovative choreography. Technically however, Trubnikova is very sound. 19.7.
Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, hoop: Loses the hoop and makes a couple other little errors in this routine to Dario Marianelli’s “Rescue Me” in which she seems to be portraying love. 21.3 is a huge score given the mistake.
Viktoria Bogdanova, EST, hoop: One drop for the Estonian veteran. 15.8.
Daria Trubnikova, RUS, ball: Supreme elegance and even facial expressions to a wonderfully delivered “There Was A Boy” from Moulin Rouge.
Alina Adilkhankova, KAZ, hoop: Sends the hoop flying away from her during the first three seconds of what was otherwise a very nice routine to a yearning “I Will Survive.”
Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, ball: Another difficulty packed exercise, and this one went decidedly better than her hoop performance. 20.7.
Rebecca Gergalo, FIN, ribbon: Stylish work from Finland’s best. 15.65.
Darya Sorokina, AZE, hoop: The Russians aren’t the only ones who recycle leotards. It’s like deja-vu watching Sorokina, who resembles a young Marina Durunda, perform her hoop exercise in that familiar blue leotard and executing some of the same masteries.
Celia Joseph-Noel, FRA, clubs: A learning experience for her with three drops of the clubs.
Viktoria Bogdanova, EST, ball: Lovely performance to “Together” by The xx. 16.4.
Daria Trubnikova, RUS, clubs: A fast-paced performance with plenty of conga drums. Kind of exotic, carried off well with her polished style. 20.3.
Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, clubs: Some wickedly original masteries in this routine, including one right off the bat where she does half a back walkover, catch the clubs on the ball of her foot, kicks them back into the air and then stands up as though from a front walkover. Love the routine’s funky, kind-of-Asian choice of music, her uninhabited choreo, the big smile on her face. Never mind the dropped club toward the end. 19.8.
Daria Trubnikova, RUS, ribbon: Italian opera by Pavarotti. Some lovely moments in this routine, but for the most part she looks like she’s thinking more about her masteries than interpreting the music. Camera pans to coach Amina Zaripova looking thrilled at the close of this performance. 16.4.
Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, ribbon: “Sex and the City.” Compared to her others, this routine is a little more standard, but still enjoyable.
Anastasia Grazenkova, RUS, clubs: As the race to fill the place of Yulia Bravikova and the rest of the reserves bench begins, young Grazenkova looks like a promising candidate -- until she drops her clubs twice to this sweet rendition of “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. Well, she’s young. 15.55.
Elizaveta Iampolskaia, MDA, ribbon: A fast-paced routine to a variation of “I Will Survive.” Has to stop for a good 10 seconds to unknot her rope half a minute in. Love the butterfly jumps, however. 11.8.
Kamelya Tuncel, TUR, clubs: A cute routine from a cute young gymnast, and the song lyrics are about murder. No, seriously -- “I’m going to wring his neck/I’m going to take my guns and shoot him down.” Well.
Irina Annenkova, RUS, ribbon: Very nice presentation to “O Fortuna” by the 2014 Youth Olympic champion. Really has to cheat a pivot at one point but overall a pleasure to watch.
Ingrid Bratsberg, NOR, clubs: Clean and pretty routine to “Mascara” by Violet right up to the last second when she pulls a Kudryavtseva and drops a club. Sigh. 13.95.
Anastasia Grazenkova, RUS, ribbon: Charming and difficult ribbon routine to Russian folk music that just gets faster and faster and faster -- hats off to her for keeping up with it. Fashion note: her leotard has no skirt in front, and a little ruffle in the back. The coming thing? 18.4.
Karolina Mizune, Latvia, ball: Nice interpretation of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica.
Irina Annenkova, RUS, hoop: After several years of not being in the conversation, Annenkova’s developed into quite a passionate performer -- and one who’s not bad about covering up her little errors (as she did once in this routine). Impressive work from her so far. 18.4.
Aisha Izabekova, KGZ, clubs: Shimmies her way through an Indian-themed routine.
Anastasia Guzenkova, RUS, hoop: Like most Russians, she seems predisposed to handle big music well. Mireille Mathieu’s “Padam, Padam” is admittedly a little mature for her, but she pulls it off with aplomb. Quick work, reminiscent of Kudryavtseva. Great ending pose, too. 20.5. Whoa.
Kamelya Tuncel, TUR, hoop: The young hope from Turkey has 15.95.
Irina Annenkova, RUS, ball: The more I see of her the more I like her. So expressive with whole body, but especially with her hands. Terrific turn sequence that ends with her leg above her head, giving the ball a tiny little kick off her toe. Entertaining routine, well worth watching. 19.8.
Aisha Izabekova, KGZ, ribbon: Ribbon in a hopeless knot halfway through, has to change it out and promptly loses the replacement. Rhythmic is hard, guys.
Anastasia Guzenkova, RUS, ball: 19.65. A star is born.
Irina Annenkova, RUS, clubs: A big smile on her face for the first time today as the closing bars of Edvin Marton’s “Godfather” sound through the Pluski Olympic Center. Certainly there are more successful Russians to come in this field, but she has done very well for herself here. Bravo. 19.95.
Ingrid Bratsberg, NOR, ball: When you lose control of your ball at the end of your routine but the music and choreo almost makes it look like you meant to do it that way. 12.8.