The new rhythmic gymnastics season began with a familiar feeling, as Dina Averina sealed first place on day one of the Grand Prix Moscow 2021 on Friday (19 February).
Athletes from over 20 nations took part in the first ranking event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The athletes were even treated to a 50 percent audience capacity at the Irina Viner-Usmanova Gymnastics Palace.
But no one could match the Russian 13-time world champion, who stole the show with a 55.150-point overall performance.
Averina's twin sister Arina sits in second place, while three-time junior world champion Lala Kramarenko is third.
The Averina twins made the most of the break in competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic by adding new elements to their programmes.
“Compared to last year, I have changed three types - hoop, ball, clubs,” Dina Averina said before the event in their homeland.
“I perform the hoop to AC / DC, the ball to Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, which was composed especially for me by Mikhail Shekhtman, and the music for the clubs is called “Fogo”. We are working on all this so that it is brought to the ideal at the next events.”
The Averinas are expected to continue Russia's impressive rhythmic gymnastics record at the Olympics, and will be favourites for a one-two finish at the Tokyo 2020 Games later in 2021.
Dina in particular will be hopeful of landing Olympic gold, having won the 2017, 2018, and 2019 all-around world titles.
The Grand Prix Moscow 2021 continues on Saturday (20 February) with the individual programme clubs and ribbons, before the top eight athletes compete in the all-around finale on Sunday (21 February).