‘Sasha’ leads medal feast at nationals

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva in action in the senior international ribbon final at the 2018 Australian Gymnastics Championships. Photo: Peter Haskin

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

FRESH from winning two bronze medals for Australia at the Commonwealth Games, and faced with juggling studies for her half-yearly VCE exams and training for her first Australian Gymnastics Championships at senior international level, Alexandra ‘Sasha’ Kiroi-Bogatyreva’s recent posts on social media were an indication that far from being daunted, something special was brewing.

“Believe in yourself – hard work pays off” and “when you really want something, you do anything to achieve it” were among the 16-year-old King David School student’s messages.

And at the end of three days of competition on June 3, Sasha won five out of a possible six gold medals on offer, plus one silver, as part of a 16-medal haul for Victoria by Jewish rhythmic gymnastics and trampolining athletes at the nationals, held at Hisense Arena.

Despite dropping a catch in her high difficulty opening hoop routine, Kiroi-Bogatyreva flawlessly executed stunning ball, clubs and ribbon performances to claim the All-Around senior international title by a massive 5.8 points ahead of New Zealand’s Stella Ebert, while also paving the way for a team gold medal win for her state, with fellow Jewish teammate Alisa Gimgina and Ashari Gill (not Jewish).

With a second crack at the hoop in that apparatus’ final, she bounced back to execute a powerhouse performance that won gold with an amazing score of 14.550, ahead of Gill and bronze medallist Gimgina.

More gold medals came for Sasha in the finals of ball (14.0 points) and ribbon (12.550 points), and a ‘residential’ silver in clubs (12.550), behind Gill and New Zealander Ebert.

Kiroi-Bogatyreva told The AJN on Monday she feels satisfied and very excited with her results, but they haven’t quite sunk in yet.

“My results are the fruits of the enormous effort that myself, my coaches and my parents have put in,” she said.
Reflecting on her recovery in the hoops events, Sasha said her initial drop came as a shock because “it wasn’t a place in the routine that ever caused trouble in training, but I’m glad everything else I did was enough to get into the final.

“I knew (in the final) I’d done a very solid routine, but the score was a real ‘wow’ factor.”

Kiroi said her next goal is to improve her international ranking and secure a place in the Australian team for her first world championships, to be held in Bulgaria in September.

In the sub junior competition, Eva Gordienko won silvers in the hoop and rope finals, an All-Around bronze, and teamed up with fellow Jewish teammates Hillai Yemini and Jessica Weintraub to win a team gold by a margin of almost 15 points over NSW.

Ashley Kolomoisky contributed to another team gold medal win over NSW in the pre-junior division, shining particularly in the clubs routine, while fellow Glen Iris Gymnastics Club member Rashelle Feldman was part of a team that won silver at junior international level.

In Level 9, Ommer Yemini (13th overall and 7th in ribbon and clubs) and Samantha Mann-Segal (22nd overall) impressed against the nation’s best, while in acrobatic gymnastics, Dana Dexter, Chloe Auslender and Mia Reitberger were solid in level 6 events.

Kiroi-Bogatyreva’s co-coach at Prahran Gymnastics, Kateryna Logachova, told The AJN “it’s always difficult to in a high pressure event like this, but Sasha did a great job again”. She also heaped praise on Gimgana and Gordienko, describing them as “stars of the future”.

U11 boys’ trampolining and mind double trampoline athlete James Mann-Segal with one of his two gold medals at the 2018 Australian Gymnastics Championships.

TRAMPOLINING

Spectacular moves, impressive heights and precision control by Jewish trampolinists resulted in more individual gold medals for Victoria at the 2018 Australian Gymnastics Championships.

He is only nine, but Cheltenham Youth Club [CYC) member James Mann-Segal finished the tournament with two gold medals in U11 boys’ events – particularly impressive given his best result at last year’s championships was third.

In the trampolining final – where two routines featuring at least 10 skilled moves are scored by the judges – Mann-Segal earned 127.180 points, almost four points ahead of New Zealand’s Flynn Gunther.

In the double mini trampoline final – trampolining’s version of the vault in gymnastics – he scored 121.100 points, edging Kiwi Thomas Fisher by the narrowest of margins.

He also competed in the synchronised final with Emerson Leffler, finishing fifth.

Mann-Segal said he felt “really proud” of himself because he’d worked really hard at training.

“I started both of my routines really well, and in trampolining I was able to get good height in my jumps while staying in, or very close to, the (marked) box,” he said.

“I love this sport because you get to master complex tricks and it’s a constant learning experience.”

Fellow CYC member Joseph Zadirevich won gold in the U15 boys’ double mini trampoline final, earning 124.100 points, just 0.300 points ahead of NSW’s Callum Cox.

Guy Rotenberg (U17) and Lexi Paul (U13) also competed at the nationals. Their best results were 6th and 21st respectively.

SHANE DESIATNIK