Russian gymnasts judged harshly?

Russia’s sports chiefs are raising concerns about the judging at the recent World Championships in Tokyo. Team Russia finished third in the medal count, behind China and the US.

­Only 33 thousandths of a point separated Russia's Viktoria Komova from the American world champion Jordyn Wieber.

The tears of despair were flowing after the judges awarded her just enough to win a silver medal in the women's all-around final.

Three-time junior Olympic Champion Komova already had a senior World Championship medal at this event in the uneven bars and she achieved that feat despite not being in top shape after an injury.

Expected to be 100 per cent at the Olympics in 2012, Viktoria Komova will present a real threat for the rest of the competition.    

“We still have a lot of work to do on our basic skills and flawless execution. But we did really well overall and all of us are ready for London,” Komova said.

Men's team captain Anton Golotsutskov was quite happy with his partners' performance. After all, four out seven gymnasts were experiencing a major senior event for the first time.

He won an individual silver medal in the vault while Russia only managed fourth place in the team event.

However, Anton feels that the guys were robbed of a bronze world championship medal.

“We did great and I think our performance deserved a bronze medal but the judges' decision was unfair. However it will be different at the Olympics where the judges will not be able to take away points from us so blatantly,” Golotsutskov said.

Russia's national team coach Andrey Rodionenko believes the issue is not with any one particular judge. Rather it is a systemic problem, a solution to which is way overdue.

“It’s not a mistake of the judges – it’s their opinion,”
Rodionenko told RT, promising still to beat the Americans in London.

Subjective refereeing is nothing new, with artistic gymnastics far from the only sport where certain decisions seem controversial.

This issue is now under close watch by Russia's sports authorities as the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko promised to discuss it with the head of the International Gymnastics Federation.

“I'm certain that the IOC should play close attention to such things and we have to speak with all the nations that sponsor major sports and make sure that objective refereeing is in place for everyone involved. This is a global problem and not just in gymnastics,”
Mutko said.

It looks like, once again, the sporting world will be looking forward to not just athletic achievements at the upcoming Olympics in London, but unfortunately also all the drama that will surround the judging in the less objective events at the Games.