Russia and Bulgaria shine in qualification at FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships
The International Gymnastics Federation Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships returned to Bulgaria after 31 years and competition got underway in the ball and hoop disciplines.
The qualification process is a two day event, with half the gymnasts beginning with the hoop event and half performing with the ball.
The qualification scores go toward the individual finals and the all-around.
In the hoop event, hosts Bulgaria finished second and third today through Boryana Kaleyn and Katrin Taseva at the Championships at the Arena Armeec in Sofia.
Kaleyn performed an 11.000 difficulty routine which earned her 19.050 and second place in qualifying, despite a 0.050 penalty.
Taseva scored 18.850 with a higher execution score than her partner but with a less difficult routine of 10.600.
Milena Baldassarri of Italy came fourth with 18.800 and Neviana Vladinova completed the top five.
Vladinova was the third Bulgarian to qualify in the top five with her score of 18.700.
Russia currently hold the top three places in the ball qualification.
Identical twins Arina and Dina Averina, who dominated the Championships last year by finishing first and second in every event except the clubs, were among those in action.
They took second and third spots in the ball qualifying.
Dina scored 20.150 by executing her slightly easier routine, with a difficulty level of 11.200, to finish second.
Arina opted for a higher degree of difficulty, 11.300, but slipped to third after dropping points in execution, scoring 20.050 overall.
Aleksandra Soldarova currently leads the ball qualification with a score of 20.250 as she performed with near perfection to score 9.050 execution points.
Israel's Nicol Zelikman was the first non-Russian in the rankings, ending fourth with 18.950.
The United States were fifth through Laura Zeng's 18.500 performance.
Tomorrow the gymnasts will switch apparatus.