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Russians lead after two rhythmic gymnastics qualification rounds
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Olga Kapranova and Evgeniya Kanaeva of Russia led the all-around competition of rhythmic gymnastics after two qualification rounds at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday.

Kapranova, the all-around gold medalist in the 2005 worlds and bronze medalist in the 2007 worlds, collected a total of 36.825 points after the rope and hoop rounds.

Kanaeva, an emerging star who won the European all-around title this year, missed the rope in her first routine but still nailed a second place, with 36.550 points.

Anna Bessonova from Ukraine, the reigning all-around world champion and bronze medalist in Athens 2004, finished third in 36.4.

China's Li Hongyang came in 12th with 33.1 points, with basically satisfactory performance but lower difficulty value compared with the European competitors.

"I do not have a concrete goal for the competition," said Li, who entered the competition with a wild card. "I only hope I can perform to my best."

"I am satisfied with my performance today," she said.

Each gymnast performs with rope, hoop, ribbon and clubs. The remaining two qualification rounds will be held on Friday.

The top 10 gymnasts in the qualifications advance to the individual all-around final on Saturday.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)

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