• Ethne Tierney

Irina Viner's online international rhythmic gymnastics competition

The 25th and 26th of this month, Irina Viner, head coach of the Rhythmic Gymnastics Russian Federation is organising an online competition for participants all over the world through ZOOM. We could not help but wonder, "How on earth does that work?!".

Once we learned all the details of the event, we came to the conclusion it is indeed a brilliant idea.

The big question for everyone was how is a gymnast supposed to do a 1.30-minute routine in their sitting room. Space is an obvious issue and it would be pretty much impossible to judge accurately.

The competition, however, is going to be much more laid back and non-conventional. The aim is is to encourage sport, fitness and healthy living among children. And rather than a competitive level event, it's something accessible to everyone who is interested in gymnastics. The categories are divided into age groups, and each age group has a list of skills that they need to perform. No apparatuses are required except for a rope. The skills don't take a lot of space and don't require any travelling.

All participants of the Tournament are awarded an e-diploma for participation, and children placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age group will also get a medal and a prize by mail. This is a fantastic way to keep participants engaged in the sport and excited about competing.

The head judge is Anna Svirina, judge of the international category FIG. Boys will be judged by the world champion in men's rhythmic gymnastics Alexander Buklov, a master of sports of international class in gymnastics.

Is this competition useful?

An online event might not give the gymnast a full competition experience, but it is a way to keep him or her excited and focused. It promotes exercise and fitness among the youngest kids and it gives people with a little more experience a specific goal to work on (the list of skills they need to complete), making daily training more organized and easy to do.

Is it accessible?

Signing up was straight forward enough for participants, and the price was 1,500 rubles (20 euro), That's much more affordable than similar events held in a presidential form, and it saves parents travelling, equipment and attire expenses.

The only thing that could make entering the competition confusing is language. In theory, it's an international competition and anyone can take part, but the information and instruction to register is either in Russian or mistranslated to English (the translation was made with google translator).

What are the requirements to enter? Are they realistic?

The requirements are simple. The skills should be executed with the gymnast's whole body on camera. The room where the competition is performed should be free of hazardous objects or anything that gets in the participant's way. There should be a decent internet connection to take part and access to ZOOM is also necessary. These manageable requirements make it easy for anyone to take part and get feedback from very knowledgeable prestigious judges.

Time will tell...

In theory, it seems like a brilliant event to embrace rhythmic gymnastics. But we will all need to see how it goes the day of the competition to see if it works. Lack of organisation and technical problems can make or break participation events like this, but we are hoping that all gymnasts have a great experience and that everything will run smoothly!

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