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Aug. 22 Preview: The rush to elevate ranks
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The Rhythmic Gymnastics qualification round of Beijing 2008 will wrap up on day two of the competition, with Individual gymnasts performing two rotations (Clubs and Ribbon) and Group gymnasts completing one (three Hoops and two Clubs).

The 10 Individual gymnasts with the highest totals from all four apparatuses will advance to the Individual All-Around final on Saturday, August 23, and groups finishing in the top eight after both routines qualify for the Group All-Around final on Sunday, August 24.

Individual All-Around

Kapranova, the 2005 world Individual All-Around champion and 2007 world Individual All-Around bronze medalist, is ranked first with 36.825 points after two rotations (Rope and Hoop) on August 21. However, day two of the competition will be demanding, as the Club is not her best apparatus, finishing seventh and eighth at the World Cups in Minsk and Kiev, respectively.

Kapranova's teammate Evgeniya Kanaeva, who won the 2008 European All-Around title, scored 36.550 points on day one of the competition to clinch the second place spot. She has improved a lot in Clubs and Ribbons in recent years, earning decent points from these two rotations in the World Series.

Athens 2004 bronze medalist Anna Bessonova of Ukraine, who is bidding for an Olympic gold medal to add to her 2007 world All-Around title, finished third with 36.400 points. Her steady and artistic maneuver of Clubs and Ribbon should be helpful to her final ranking.

The oldest competitor, Almudena Cid of Spain, 28, will seek to at least retain her ranking from day one. The four-time Olympian finished a swaying 10th with 33.475 points.

Group All-Around

Though placing a disappointing fourth due to a faulty pirouette and apparatus handling in the first rotation, defending Olympic and reigning world champion Russia should have no fear of missing out on the final.

Belarus, who placed fourth at Athens 2004, earned the evening's top score of 17.525, ahead of China (17.300). Athens 2004 silver medalist Italy placed third at 17.150. Bulgaria, the Athens 2004 bronze medalist, finished fifth with 16.625 points.

Japan, Greece, Israel and Brazil, placing out of the top eight on day one, will desperately seek a rise in the rankings and fight for a much coveted final entry.

(BOCOG, August 22, 2008)

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