Rhythmic gymnastics is always one of the most popular sporting events at any Olympic Games. But it takes years of stretching and countless hours of practice for the gymnasts to perfect certain maneuvers. For young kids, getting their progress recognized is an achievement which inspires them to improve at their craft. And that’s what happened at the sixth Zhong Ling Cup, an international rhythmic gymnastics tournament held at Dulwich College Beijing (DCB) on July 30.
More than 120 young gymnasts from 14 countries competed at the international tournament, and 350 medals were awarded for the best and most graceful in the single and team categories of rhythmic gymnastics events: rope, hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon, and freehand (no apparatus).
All of the young performers, who wore suits adorned with shimmering sequins, displayed heart-stopping flexibility and agility.
Following the award ceremony was a gala performance by Russian gymnasts, including Margarita Mamun who won gold at the All-Around competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She captivated the audience with a three-minute presentation, showing some basic routines elegantly performed with a flowing piece of transparent fabric.
beijingkids got a chance to talk to the Rio Olympian, who revealed her inspirations: a gymnastics performance on television, and her mother, who was a gymnast herself.
When asked about how she trains for competitions, Mamun said she begins it with a choreography class from 9am to 1pm. “There’s a lot of training, especially before the (Rio) Olympic Games,” she said, “…and I make it sure that I do my moves perfectly when I practice, and also begin with warm ups.” Just like other young people, the 21-year-old gymnast told beijingkids that she likes to spend her free time going to parks or watching movies with her family.
“There are a lot of opportunities now for young Chinese gymnasts,” Mamun said about the popularity of the sport in China. “Students can use the internet to learn and practice gymnastic moves, and also join competitions,” she said, adding that she hopes her presence in the tournament will inspire young gymnasts to achieve more in the sport.
The tournament organizer, Zhong Ling, is an accomplished gymnast herself. She said she wanted to use her experience to bring more young people to sports and gymnastics, where young people can overcome difficulties and have a more positive attitude in life. Zhong added that the seventh tournament would be bigger, as they have already begun preparations and invited more domestic and international teams to participate. She said they are also planning to hold master training camps for local and foreign gymnasts.
Additional reporting and translation by Olesya Sedysheva.
Photos: Andy Penafuerte