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29 Oct, 2021 11:45

Revered Russian coach accuses Gymnastics Federation chief of having ‘neither conscience nor honor’ after new Averina judging drama

Revered Russian coach accuses Gymnastics Federation chief of having ‘neither conscience nor honor’ after new Averina judging drama

The head coach of the Russian national team has given a furious response after top stars Dina and Arina Averina were involved in more judging drama following their scandal over scoring at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Russian team requested an inquiry after the judging scores were initially read out in a nail-biting ribbon final at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu on Thursday, when Dina Averina had been aiming for a phenomenal fourth gold of the campaign.

With no resulting changes, Belarusian Alina Harnasko took the title by 0.05, rewarding the 20-year-old's superb performance and making her the first non-Russian to win an individual world championship title since 2013.

In a reminder of her emotional, contentious defeat to Israeli Linoy Ashram at the Tokyo Olympics, Averina appeared to cry and remove her mask to sound a note of frustration as the results came in – a repeat of that ordeal which left legendary coach Irina Viner-Usmanova enraged.

"The girls' reaction? These are not the first tears in their eyes – that was at the Olympic Games," the head of the team told RIA. "The worst thing is that it was repeated in public."

Viner-Usmanova made an extraordinary claim that the technical committee of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Natalia Kuzmina, had told Vasily Titov, one of the vice-presidents of the Russian Olympic Committee, that "Russia is nothing for her now".

"This is how she behaves, unfortunately," added Viner-Usmanova, accusing Kuzmina, who directed the judges at the Olympics but will not be re-elected, of possessing "neither conscience nor honor".

Viewers were split on the judging and Averina's display of emotion. "I believe I would well use some colorful language under the same high pressure, and it seemed to be more in general – not aimed at the judge pool," said one journalist.

"Also, even if it was aimed at them, it's still within the athlete's right to be p*ssed off with the scoring, wrongly or rightly.

"I'd really like a sport where people are not out there to play power games but play it as a sport. It might never happen.

"Nothing happened today. A true gold candidate routine won over another true gold candidate routine by a tiny margin. It's called sport. That's why we watch it."

A fan rued during the contest: "Oh my god – I'm reliving awful flashbacks from the Tokyo Olympics.

"To see Dina Averina so sad and hopeful as she waits for the score after submitting an inquiry."

A critic of the 23-year-old's outburst said: "What bothers me is the fact that she pulled down her mask to say it.

"I totally understand and encourage the use of cursing words – I find it relaxing at times of stress – but pulling down her mask?

"It read like, "I want everyone to hear how p*ssed I am because that score is unfair."

Averina still reached a landmark on the day by winning the clubs gold at the championships.

That took her to a total of 14 individual titles – the most individual golds at the world championships of any rhythmic gymnast ever, surpassing the record held by her compatriot, Evgeniya Kanaeva.

Her four-time world champion twin sister finished second, with Anastasia Salas, of Belarus, claiming bronze.

Congratulating Dina on her clubs win, Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a statement: "You have once again put up an outstanding performance at this World Championship, having demonstrated to all your competitors an unreachable level of your skills and earned the right to take the top step on the podium in the clubs exercise."

Also on rt.com Brink of history: Vladimir Putin congratulates Dina Averina after gymnastics great becomes world champion for 15th time (VIDEO)