Turkey win historic first gold at European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships

Turkey beat hosts Ukraine to 3 hoops, 2 pairs of clubs gold by virtue of having fewer execution technical score deductions.

By ZK Goh

Turkey clinched a surprise gold medal – and their first medal of any colour – at the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Kyiv on Saturday (28 November) with victory in the group mixed apparatus (3 hoops + 2 pairs of clubs) final.

Despite receiving the same total score – 31.150 – as silver medallists and hosts Ukraine, they were awarded the gold medal on the second tie-breaking criteria of having fewer execution technical score deductions than the Ukrainians.

Azerbaijan pipped Israel to bronze, with both those teams also locked in a tie on 30.650, by virtue of having the better execution score.

Hosts Ukraine, backed by a small but vocal socially-distanced crowd, looked to have nailed their 3 hoops + 2 pairs of clubs routine set to Swan Lake by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

However, what ultimately made the difference with Turkey was a late error right as the music ended, as a stray club went flying and landed on the arena floor some distance away from the nearest gymnast.

The Turkish gymnasts were able to piece together a cleaner performance, and although the teams received the same difficulty and execution scores, the technical deduction for Ukraine proved insurmountable.

Israel will also be ruing a number of dropped apparatus after they were edged out by Azerbaijan for bronze.

Despite the Israelis performing a more difficult routine, with an original composition inspired by Britney Spears' music providing the backdrop, sloppy errors meant Azerbaijan were able to receive a higher execution score which gave them the bronze medal.

Earlier, Ukraine (35.350) won the group 5 balls gold medal from Israel (34.450) and Estonia (32.800), whose bronze medal was also that country's first in European Championships history.

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