The 2020 European Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics take place this weekend from 26-29 November in Kyiv, Ukraine, despite a number of withdrawals due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While the organisers and European Gymnastics have put measures in place to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, including a ban on spectators, the health situation elsewhere in Europe has led to a number of teams either choosing not to enter at all, or withdrawing after having registered.
As the junior and senior European Championships are being held concurrently, some nations are also sending athletes in only one age category. A total of 58 senior and 57 junior gymnasts, from 23 nations, are set to take part at Kyiv's Palace of Sports (data as of 23 November).
Notably, Italy – who finished fourth in the group competition at Rio 2016 – have decided against travelling to Kyiv after having originally registered, while that event's gold and silver medallists, Russia and Spain, chose not to enter the event at all.
There are a total of nine events in Kyiv, with one overall team, four junior, and four senior titles on offer.
Who to look out for
The senior group competition would appear to be wide open, with the traditional powerhouses of Russia, Bulgaria, Italy, and Belarus all absent.
Hosts Ukraine – ranked joint-third in last year's World Cup rankings – and Israel (seventh) figure to be the most likely to challenge for the title, with Estonia and Azerbaijan figuring in the mix for the other medals.
Last year's World Cup numbers three and four, Katrin Taseva and Boryana Kaleyn of Bulgaria, are both listed to start, as are the host country's Eva Meleshchuk and Vlada Nikolchenko, Israel's Linoy Ashram and Nicol Zelikman (seventh and ninth), and Belarus' Anastasiia Salos and Alina Harnasko (joint-16th and 18th).
Organisers will require all athletes to take and pass a coronavirus PCR test on site for a charge, and every accredited participant has to provide a negative PCR test before entry to Ukraine is granted.
While all side events normally held during such a Championships, such as the gala performance, receptions, and last-day banquet have been cancelled, there is no "bubble" system being enforced by the organising committee.
Athletes have been advised to follow social distancing requirements and not to leave their hotels except for training or competition.
2020 European Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics provisional schedule
Schedule correct as of 2 November 2020. All times local (UTC +2 hours).
Thursday 26 November
11:00–13:30 Junior individual qualification (rope, ball)*
13:45–15:35 Junior individual qualification (rope, ball)*
16:30–17:15 Senior group all-around (5 balls)*
Friday 27 November
12:00–13:40 Junior individual qualification (clubs, ribbon)*
13:55–16:25 Junior individual qualification (clubs, ribbon)*
17:30–18:15 Senior group all-around (3 hoops + 2 pairs of clubs)*
From 18:15 Team competition award ceremony, Senior group all-around award ceremony
*Competitions counting towards overall team competition
Saturday 28 November
13:00–14:10 Junior individual finals (rope, ball)
14:15–15:25 Junior individual finals (clubs, ribbon)
From 15:25 Junior individual finals award ceremonies
16:00–16:45 Senior group final (5 balls)
17:00–17:45 Senior group final (3 hoops + 2 pairs of clubs)
From 17:45 Senior group finals award ceremonies
Sunday 29 November
11:45–13:15 Senior individual all-around final
14:00–15:30 Senior individual all-around final
15:45–17:15 Senior individual all-around final
From 17:20 Senior individual all-around award ceremony, Closing ceremony