Interview to Viktoriia Onopriienko

 

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Viktoriia Onopriienko (UKR)

Viktoriia Onopriienko is the current Ukrainian Champion and vice-champion of the European Championship. Last week, she answered many questions and also thanked everyone in a Livestream conversation on Instagram with her fans.

How did you get into the national team?

I joined the National Team after National Championships of Ukraine, in Sumy in 2016. We did a group exercise and 4 individual exercises. After this, they called my coach and said that Irina Ivanovna Deryugina wanted to see me. The next day we arrived at the October Palace. Anna Rizatdinova, Victoria Mazur (the leaders of the current past National Team) were there. My heart just jumped out of my chest. Irina Ivanovna asked me to warm up and show off my exercises. She wanted me to be in the National Team.

Which is your favorite exercise from 2017 to 2020?

I really liked the exercise with the ball “Fever”. This year I like all my exercises, but I would highlight last year’s exercises with a ribbon and clubs.

– How long does your training last?

The first training session starts at 9-10 am and we work out for an hour or two. Then we have a break. The second workout depends on how we are released, usually until 7-8 pm. In general, we train 8-10 hours a day. Sometimes we also have one training session on Saturday.

How hard was for you to get back in shape after quarantine?

It was quite hard, especially to prepare yourself for the Ukrainian Championship. During the quarantine we also had to work out.

Which are your favorite gymnastics element?

I have no favorite elements, but my top elements, as they say, are ring balance and back balance.

Do you prefer unitards or leotards?

I have both, even leotards with or without a skirt.

Have you ever thinked about stop doing gymnastics?

Yes, in the past when the workload increased in training, and I began to take part in competitions more often. At the same time I also went to school and I was very tired. My parents help me a lot, they know how to motivate and support me.

Who is the strictest coach in the national team?

All our coaches are strict in their own way.  We have good behaviour to all the coaches and we have mutual understanding.

What do you do in your free time?

My favorite hobby is cooking.

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If you could remove or add some rules in rhythmic gymnastics, what would it be?

I would like to add more elegant movements. According to the rules, there is a lot of work with the apparatus and, I would like to relieve this a little bit, so that the emphasis of the exercise focuses in the artistry.

Which are your plans for the future?

So far, the future for me is the Olympic Games. I really want to represent the Ukrainian National Team at the Olympics and raise up the flag of our country.

Do you speak Ukrainian? Which language do you use more: Russian or Ukrainian?

My whole family speaks Ukrainian. At home with my parents I speak Ukrainian, but in trainings I prefer to speak in Russian.

In which country did you like to perform the most?

Spain. Spanish fans adore this sport,  especially gymnasts from Ukraine. They really like our school, our performances and exercises.

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Viktoriia Onopriienko at Grand Prix Marbella

Interview to Daria Trubnikova

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Daria Trubnikova (RUS)

“During quarantine, we connected to each other using Skype, Zoom…We trained in our rooms. The coaches could also watch us, so that they could correct our trainings”

The Olympic Games are postponed. How did the Russian National Team manage this situation?

Of course these were bad news. We felt really sad for this situation overall. We though that the Olympic Games would be cancelled. For the moment, they just changed the dates. You have to look forward positive situations, so that we think that this is a great opportunity to improve our work.

How is Irina Alexandrovna (Viner) towards you?

Two years ago, when I was still fourteen years old and I competed in Junior competitions, I was really proud of myself because Irina Viner chose me to compete in several competitions. She is a great person. I am looking forward the future and my aim is to compete in World Championships.

How is life in National Training Center?

The first gymnast that I met there was Yuliya Bravikova. We started talking to each other. She was recovering from an injury and she always supported me. I also have a good relationship with Masha Sergeeva. My coach was Amina Zaripova. Right now, this is my third year in Novogorsk.

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Mariya Sergeeva (RUS)

Yulia Bravikova

Yuliya Bravikova (RUS)

Could you talk about Amina Zaripova?

She talked to my mother:

“If you don’t like the way I am as a coach, then we won’t find things in common.”

But I felt really good sensations between us.

 

Were you scared of training with Amina Zaripova after watching the film “Over the Limit”

Over the Limit is an intimate portrait of the world’s most outstanding rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun, the main representative of the prestigious Russian National Team.

No, I wasn’t scared at all. But honestly, I have to say that after watching “Over the Limit” I thought about stop doing rhythmic gymnastics. I have never talked to Amina about the film.

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Margarita Mamun (RUS)

Which was the most difficult competition for you?
Definitely, The Youth Olympic Games in 2018. This year was really difficult for me. The beggining of the season was not very good. And also, 2019, when I become a Senior Gymnast.
Have you ever think about becoming Olympic Champion?
No. But I dreamed about it.
Are you supersticious?
I have a teddy bear which I kiss before competitions. A Cheburashka, that flies with me to every single competition.
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Daria Trubnikova (RUS)

Yanika Vartlaan announces her retirement

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Ukrainian gymnast Yanika Vartlaan announced last week the end of her gymnastics career. Yanika was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. Her mother is Ukrainian and her father is from Estonia, that’s why Yanika represented Estonia in her early years as a gymnast. However, Yanika have never trained or lived in Estonia. Right now, Yanika is focused in her career as a stretching instructor and doesn’t want to be a coach.

Her Life in Ukraine

In 2018, she decided to compete for the country she was born in. She was invited to train in Deriugina School (Kiev) with the National Team as individual gymnast.  She was the fourth gymnast behind Vlada Nikolchenko, Olena Diachenko, and Yeva Meleshchuk. Yanika is very flexible and has her own designed leotards, partially made by her mother. She even lent her leotards to top gymnasts such as Dina Averina.

35th FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Pesaro, 31.08.2017

Dina Averina (RUS)

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YANIKA VARTLAAN

Yanika lent this leotard to Dina Averina

Results

Throughout 2018, she participated in three World Cups: Tashkent, Portimão, and Minsk. At World Cup Portimao she could qualified in three of four finals.

At the World Championships in Sofia, she finished fifth in Team Competition. She also qualified for All-Around Final. She finished in 22nd position with two strong exercises with ball and hoop.

At the end of the season, she fell and injured her leg during her ribbon exercise at Italian Serie A.

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Gymnast of the week: Vlada Nikolchenko

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Vlada Nikolchenko is currently Team Leader at National Ukrainian Team of Senior Individual Rhythmic Gymnastics. She was born in Kharkov (Ukraine) 17 years ago. She was brought to gymnastics by her mother and grandmother. Once she realized that she enjoyed a lot doing gymnastics, she focused on serious goals. Then, she was invited by Irina Deriugina, National Team Coach, to train in Kiev.

The beggining of my career at Deriugina School in Kiev was really hard, but the whole team is indeed really friendly. My coaches always understand my situation and support me

 

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Vlada Nikolchenko and her coach, Ireesha Blohina

Her favorite competition is Deriugina Cup Grand Prix, which usually takes part in spring. These year, Deriugina Cup was cancelled because of the COVID-19 health emergency. But Vlada’s goal is definitly to become an Olympian.

“I dream to reach Olympic Games. This idea motivates me to train every single day.”

Vlada is in National Team since 2017, where she placed 8th in all around junior groups competition at European Championships in Budapest. Just a year later, in 2018, Vlada made her debut as a senior individual gymnast, placing 4th in all-around competition. She was one of the youngest gymnast of this competition since she was only 15 years old. Vlada’s best result was becoming 3rd (bronze) at World Championships in Baku in 2019 with clubs.

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Vlada at Grand Prix Marbella 2019

 

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Vlada Nikolchenko at Grand Prix Thiais 2018

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Vlada at Grand Prix Thiais 2019 (7th position at All-Around Competition)

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Vlada’s Ukrainian signature leap

Gymnast of the week: Ekaterina Selezneva

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Ekaterina Selezneva (RUS) at Grand Prix Tartu 2020

Ekaterina Selezneva, two-time World Champion in 2019 in rhythmic gymnastics, was awarded with the title of Honored Master of Sports of Russia. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation. She is currently world champion in hoop. Selezneva has competed as a senior since 2011, but she was not in National Team.

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In addition of two gold medals, Katya has won the bronze medal of the last World Cup with her ribbon routine. Also, 24-year-old Selezneva won last Universiade in Naples (all-around, ribbon, ball and hoop)

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Currently, Katya is in National Team, fighting for and Olympic place and she is still training with her mother as a coach, Olga Nazarova.

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Facts about Dina and Arina Averina

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Dina and Arina Averina are the most popular twins in Rhythmic Gymnastics and they are currently World and European Champions. These are some facts about them:

We started rhythmic gymnastics because of our sister, Polina

Dina and Arina Averina have an older sister, called Polina Averina, who was also a gymnast. Once, when she came back home, she showed to her sisters her new skills and the twins were interested on going also to gymnastics school. Nowadays Polina works as a coach in Dubai and is three years older than Dina and Arina.

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Dina and Arina were invited to live in Moscow and train in the National Sports Center, Novogorsk, because of their talent. They moved at the age of 13 years old. Their family continued living in Nizhny-Novgorod. In Novogorsk also live the gymnasts who compound the National Team, including groups, senior individual and junior individual gymnasts.

Our daily routine starts very early, at 7:30 am

They usually wake up at 7:30 am and have breakfast around 8:10 am. The next step is getting ready and work on the computer. This computer shows us our basal conditions to train. We have a break of two hours and then, we are back on training at 4 pm. They usually go to bed at 11 pm. In Novogorsk, the gymnast have the chance to visit the doctor, psychologist…

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Arina Averina (RUS)

Our main goal is to compete at Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020

They support each other in every single competition. If one of them doesn’t succeed, then it is up to the other to hold up the Russian flag. At the beginning of the year, the gymnast that place from 1st to 8th position make the National Team. Those who reach the 1st, 2nd and 3rd position, will go to Grand Prix Series. But it is the main coach (Irina Viner-Usmanova) who decides the gymnast that will compete in every single event. They have a weekly control training, who is directed by Irina Viner. She also chooses the music and the main composition of the routines.

Vera Shatalina is the coach of Dina and Arina Averina, who also has the help of the main choreographer of the team, Irina Zenovka. They discuss together, with the sisters, which music and elements could fit better with the routine.

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Dina Averina (RUS)

In some years they don’t want to be linked to gymnastics. They are not planning to become coaches either. Their main plan is to go to the University. They have really different points of view: Arina is more calmed and relaxed, while Dina has more strengh and nerve. Arina is the “angel”, while Dina is the “demon”

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Dina Averina (RUS)

Arina Averina

Arina Averina (RUS)

10 Facts about Aleksandra Soldatova

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Aleksandra Soldatova is one of the most beloved gymnast of the world by the audience. Would you like to know some facts about her?

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“My idols are Alina Kabaeva and Aleksei Nemov”
Both are Russian gymnastics star: Alina is currently a politician and Nemov has his own gymnastics show.

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Aleksandra broke two teeth during trainings last week because of a club.

Sasha Soldatova

She would choose a landscape as a holiday place. She loves the nature.

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She respects Dina and Arina Averina and thinks they are both very strong gymnasts.

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Sasha loves animals and, in fact, she lives with a cat.

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She shares a room in Novogorsk with Olympic Champion in 2016 in group, Vera Biryukova.

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She really appreciates her relationship with her coach, Anna Dyachenko (Shumilova).

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She is one of the Under Armour sports brand ambassadors in Russia.

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At the beggining of the season, she chose this black leotard for her hoop routine. Irina Viner advised her to choose another one instead of the black one since this was too dark.

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She tries to eat really healthy and avoids any kinds of fattening food and sweets, but she loves hot chocolate drink.

Yulia Bravikova announces her retirement

Yulia Bravikova

Russian rhythmic gymnast, Yulia Bravikova, have just announced her retirement due to a foot injury.

Yulia is the European Champion in 2014 with hoop and winner of the Summer Universiade in 2017. A few months before Youth Olympic Games, she suffered a leg injury so that Yulia could not compete. She was withdrawn and replaced by Irina Annenkova, who won gold.

In her senior season, she had a new coach, Daria Kondakova. 2017 was maybe the most succesful year for Yulia: 5 Golds (clubs, ribbon, hoop, ball and all-around) at Grand Prix Eilat (ISR), and All-Around winner of Summer Universiade in Taipei.

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In 2018, Bravikova began her season at the 2018 Grand Prix Moscow, where she got injured again.

“Since 2013 I suffered an injury in my left foot, and then, my recovery was really tough. Right now the doctors advise me to stop doing gymnastics. Thank you so much to all the people who believed in me.

 

Anna Rizatdinova’s life after retirement

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Anna Rizatdinova (UKR)

It’s been a while since Anna Rizatdinova announced retirement in 2017, a year after her most beloved year in her career as a gymnast. She won medals at European Championships, World Championships and she is the current bronze Olympic medalist.

In early 2017 she stops professional sports career, she flashed everyone in Pesaro World Championships showing off she was clearly pregnant. She gave birth to her son, Roman in Barcelona, Spain.

A few months after becoming mother, she is already fit and nearly eith the same weight she had during Olympic Games (just two kilos of difference.

“I worked out during the whole pregnancy, but the last month was tough. Now I feel fit again”

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Rizatdinova’s work out routines “Dream Body Work by Anna”

Anna’s aim is to open a School of Rhythmic Gymnastics under her name. By now, she’s showing up all her rhythmic gymnastics skills on her Masterclass World tour, were she already visited Spain, Poland, France and Ukraine.

Life as a gymnast

Rizatdinova explained that life as a professional sportswoman is not as easy as it looks. “My life was only focused in rhythmic gymnastics. My body and mind was all about sports. It is very difficult to be always ready to compete. I remember I had really difficult times.” In 2014, Ukraine was involved in a political conflict so that Deriugina School was forced to change its location.

“Nowadays I feel plenty happy. My life totally changed after I became a mom. I really focused on my baby, every single decision is made thinking about Roman.”

Anna Rizatdinova’s next Masterclass stage is in Puebla, Mexico this July.

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Anna Rizatdinova (UKR) and Viktoriya Mazur (UKR)