June 20, 2015 / 6:24 PM / 2 years ago

Russia dominate gymnastics, but Rio will be harder

Nikita Ignatyev of Russia performs during the men's gymnastics horizontal bar final at the 1st European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, June 20 , 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BAKU (Reuters) - Russians continued their dominance of the gymnastics medals at the European Games in Baku with seven more on Saturday to take their combined tally to 16 in 18 events so far.

At the stunning purpose-built National Gymnastics Arena adjacent to the Olympic Stadium, Russia have bagged seven golds, six silvers and three bronze medals.

Aliya Mustafina won a gold and silver on Saturday in the women’s uneven bars and floor exercise finals, taking her gold medal haul to three for the championships.

She stressed, however, that the level of competition will be far tougher at the Rio Olympics.

“I am pleased with my performances today and I did what I wanted to do,” the 20-year-old told reporters.

”Obviously there is happiness. The competition is over, and that is the main thing.

”First of all you feel that the level of competition is lower than the Olympic Games, the main competitors are not here.

“My happiness is mixed with the understanding that Rio is coming up and it will be much harder there.”

David Belyavskiy won silver in the men’s parallel bars and bronze in the men’s floor final.

Nikita Ignatyev claimed silver in the men’s rings and bronze in the horizontal bar finals while Seda Tutkhalyan finished second in the women’s vault.

There are still 16 gold medals up for grabs across the trampoline and rhythmic, aerobic and acrobatic gymnastic disciplines and Russia have athletes in the finals in every event.

After eight days of full competition in Baku, Russia lead the table with 59 medals -- 26 more than their closest rivals Azerbaijan.

Reporting by Tom Hayward; editing by Martyn Herman

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