Meet the 2015 FIG World Cup series champions in Acrobatic Gymnastics!29/05/2015
Acrobatic powerhouse Russia walked away with three of the four FIG World Cup series titles in Acrobatic Gymnastics, awarded after last week's World Cup in Geneva (SUI).
2015 FIG World Cup series medallists include (from top to bottom): Mixed Pairs winners Kiley Boynton and Ryan Ward (USA), Women's Trio silver medallists Cicely Irwin, Josephine Russell and Jennifer Bailey (GBR) and Men's Pair bronze medallists Daniyar Muslimov and Sultanbek Naisbayev (KAZ).
World Cup competitors receive World Cup points depending on how they rank at World Cup events. Those with the greatest number of points at the end of the World Cup series are crowned FIG World Cup champions for the year. Here's a look at the champions:
In the wake of the success of reigning World Men's Pair champions Konstantin Pilipchuk and Alexei Dudchenko (RUS), Alexander Kvasov and Andrei Charikov have emerged as the most dominant Men's Acro duo of 2015, winning every World Cup competition they entered. They took the World Cup title with a perfect score of 90 points, tallying 30 World Cup ranking points for every win. The experienced Daniyar Muslimov and Sultanbek Naisbayev (KAZ), finished second after an up-and-down showing on the World Cup circuit, while new seniors Pedro Melo and Rafael Branco (POR) finished third.
A second place finish at the Varna World Cup and third in Geneva helped Russians Dina Vikhryanova and Darina Kriuchkova claim the 2015 World Cup title in Women's Pairs, ahead of newcomers Bethan Dix and Chloe Gunter (GBR) and Jessica Renteria and Maren Merwarth (USA).
With just two World Cups counting for the World Cup ranking in Women's Pairs (a category must have at least four entrants at a World Cup in order for it to count toward the World Cup rankings), participation was key. Neither the winners from the Varna World Cup -- Belarus's Marhartya Bartashevich and Viktoryia Mikhnovich -- nor the Geneva World Cup -- China's Mo Zhixin and Zhang Zhiyin -- opted to participate in more than one World Cup event this season.
The Russians were equally successful in Women's Trio competition, where 2014 World medallist Valeriia Belkina, working with new partners Zhanna Pavkhometc and Yulia Nikitina won the World Cup Trio title after second place finishes in Varna and Geneva. British Trio Cicely Irwin, Jennifer Bailey and Josephine Russell, seventh in qualification at the 2014 World Championships, moved up to second in the World Cup rankings this year, ahead of Portugal's Beatriz Gueifao, Raquel de Sousa Martins and Margarida Fernandes.
The United States, a rising power in Acrobatic Gymnastics, saw history made when Kiley Boynton and Ryan Ward, the reigning World bronze medallists in Mixed Pairs, became the first American pair to win a World Cup title.
After a third-place start to their World Cup season in Maia (POR), Boynton and Ward went on to win the Varna and Geneva World Cups, finishing their season atop the World Cup podium -- and atop the rankings, placing above Maia World Cup winners Maxim Soprunov and Ekaterina Vdovina, who just may be Russia's next power pair, and British Junior champions Isabella Montagna and Lewis Walker, who are following in the footsteps of now retired British greats Alice Upcott and Dominic Smith.
Due to low participation rates in Men's Group competition at the World Cup points were not awarded this year.
China, host country of the 2016 World Championships, only competed in one FIG Acro World Cup competition in 2015, but it managed to make a strong impression all the same. At the Geneva World Cup, Chinese gymnasts won three of the five titles up for grabs, letting it be known that they will be looking to contend for medals when the Acrobatic World unites in Putian (CHN) next spring.
2015 FIG Acrobatic World Cup results:
1. Andrei Charikov and Alexander Kvasov, RUS, 90 points
2. Daniyar Muslimov and Sultanbek Naisbayev, KAZ, 43 points
3. Pedro Melo and Rafael Branco, POR, 34 points
1. Diana Vikhryanova and Darina Kriuchkova, RUS, 45 points
2. Bethan Dix and Chloe Gunter, GBR, 43 points
3. Jessica Renteria and Maren Merwarth, USA, 38 points
1. Kiley Boynton and Ryan Ward, USA, 80 points
2. Maksim Soprunov and Ekaterina Vdovina, RUS, 69 points
3. Isabelle Montagna and Lewis Walker, GBR, 41 points
1. Zhanna Pavkhometc, Yulia Nikitina and Valeriia Belkina, RUS, 50 points
2. Cicely Irwin, Josephine Russell and Jennifer Bailey, GBR, 48 points
3. Beatriz Gueifao, Raquel de Sousa Martins and Margarida Fernandes, POR, 45 points
Related: Full 2015 Acro World Cup Series rankings: http://goo.gl/Ttc8ti