Rhythmic gymnastics: Mamun hails victory for 'two countries'

Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:12pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Born in Moscow to a Bangladeshi father, rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun showed off her exquisite balancing and twirling skills as she captured what she called "a victory for two countries" in the individual all around event at the Olympics.

The 20-year-old Russian goes by the nickname of 'The Bengal Tiger' but rather than knocking over her rivals with brute force, she simply left them chasing shadows as she produced four dazzling routines with the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon to win her first global all around title.

To do that she beat overwhelming favorite and three-time world champion Yana Kudryavtseva, who surrendered her title hopes when her twirling act with the clubs went horribly wrong in its dying seconds.

Throwing the club high into the air, she rolled over on the floor ready to catch it as she went to strike her final pose, only to have the apparatus land beyond her outstretched hand.

"It was quite unexpected for me to win the gold medal today because before today Yana beat me and win each time in the all around. Hence I wasn't really thinking about winning the gold medal today," said the 20-year-old Mamun, who earned Russia a fifth successive gold in the discipline.

That error knocked a distraught Kudryavtseva, who was leading at the halfway point of the competition, off the top and allowed Mamun to grab the top prize with a total of 76.483.

So had Mamun instantly been aware of Kudryavtseva's mistake?

"I wasn't aware of Yana's mistake because I was backstage changing costumes for my next ribbon routine," she said after relegating her Russian teammate to the silver.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Rhythmic Gymnastics - Victory Ceremony - Individual All-Around Victory Ceremony - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 20/08/2016. Margarita Mamun (RUS) of Russia poses with her gold medal.  REUTERS/Matthew Childs