Baku, June 17, AZERTAC
The Rhythmic Gymnastics competition at the Baku 2015 European Games could be so close that even the sport's reigning queen is not taking victory for granted.
"It is a very important tournament and we approached it very attentively," said Yana Kudryavtseva, the 2013 and 2014 world individual all-around champion. "We've tried to be in peak form. We will try to show our best."
The 17-year-old Kudryavtseva is a favourite for multiple golds in Baku, but she does not have to look beyond her own training partner, 19-year-old Margarita Mamun, to see a major rival.
Mamun, who won all-around silver at the 2014 worlds, said: "We are calm. We want to perform well and successfully."
Kudryavtseva said Ukraine, Belarus, Italy and Spain will provide stiff competition.
Ukraine's Ganna Rizatdinova, the 2014 world all-around bronze medallist, and Belarusian Melitina Staniouta, the 2015 European championship triple medallist in individual events, could foil Russia’s potential sweep of the individual titles.
The individual competition will include an all-around final, and qualifications and finals for hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.
The group competition will include an all-around final, and qualifications and finals for exercise with five ribbons, exercise with six clubs and two hoops.
Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan count among the leading groups.