Dubai: The legendary Yevgeniya Kanayeva is hoping to inspire a new generation of gymnasts from across the world as they attend the second edition of the Dubai International Rhythmic Gymnastics — DuGym Cup this weekend.
Following a successful debut last year, the DuGym Cup promises to be bigger and better with more than 450 gymnasts from across 17 nations already confirming their presence this time, compared to the 285 representing 21 nations in its inaugural year.
Organised by DuGym Rhythmic Gymnastics with support from Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the three-day competition is scheduled to be held with the gala opening ceremony at noon at the Al Manara Sports Hall, Jumeirah, on December 7.
The DuGym Cup 2017 will witness contestants between the ages of 5 and 16 years in the teams and individual categories contesting for a total of 60 gold medals. Five clubs from Dubai and Fujairah have also confirmed their participation for the contest that has attracted a total of 62 teams, including the national squad of Uzbekistan who will be performing at the opening ceremony.
The judging panel will include Russian legend Kanayeva — the only individual rhythmic gymnast in history to win two Olympic all-around gold medals and an amazing 17 World Championships and 13 European crowns. Kanayeva and Elena Karpushenko will conduct the master class on Sunday [December 10], while Pazhava will host it the following day.
“This is my way of giving back to my sport,” Kanayeva said on Monday.
“My dream is to have as many girls as possible who can attend and benefit from the Master class so that they can take that next step towards becoming a professional gymnast.”
Kanayeva, who bagged gold at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, noted that the road is hard and long.
“Being a professional gymnast can easily take between four to eight hours of training on a daily basis,” she said. “And this can go up to even ten hours closer to an important competition. All it needs is hard work and dedication in pursuing a cause.”
Sharing their experiences at the Masterclass will be Elena Karpushenko, personal coach of three-time world all-round champion and world record holder Yana Kudryavtseva, and Salome Pazhava - who is also scheduled to perform.
“This competition has shown a steady growth in just one year and this shows the development of rhythmic gymnastics as a sport in the region. This weekend we will have the privilege of watching more than one Olympic participant,” Ghazi Al Madani, the manager of sports tourism, DSC, said.
Angel Ilgaz, the director and head coach of DuGym RG, said: “Rhythmic gymnastics is an aesthetic amalgamation of sports and art. We at DuGym RG thought that it was essential to create a platform where not just our home-groomed gymnasts, but participants from world over would be able to display their competitive form.
“The debut chapter of this event witnessed stupendous success. To keep the momentum going, this year’s competition will be organised at a grander level with world renowned panel of judges and an increase in number of international participants.”
With competitions to be held at an individual and group level; participants will have varied options in skill display that include Free Hand, Rope, Ball, Hoop; as well as styles of their choice.