Rhythmic gymnast Minagawa ends Japan’s 42-year wait
AGU Media, DOHA (QAT): Japan’s Kaho Minagawa won the bronze in the individual hoop competition at the FIG World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Pesaro, Italy, to become the first Japanese in 42 years to make a podium finish in an individual event.
Mitsuru Hiraguchi won a gold in the individual hoop final in 1975.
The 20-year-old, who is the current Asian Championships All-around silver medallist, trains in Novogorsk, Russia.
Minagawa, who didn’t advance to the 10-woman all-around final at the Rio Games last year, garnered 17.700 points for her routine in the final at Adriatic Arena.
Russia’s Dina Averina claimed gold (19.100) and her twin sister Arina took silver (19.000).
“I’m surprised and happy. I’m finally able to show at a competition what I’ve been practicing. This was my first medal at the worlds,” said Minagawa, who was born in Chiba.
However, she finished fifth in the individual all-around, marking the best finish in the event by a Japanese in 42 years.
In the all-around, athletes compete on the total score of hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon routines.
Minagawa earned 68.425 points and matched Yoko Morino’s fifth-place finish at the 1975 worlds.
“I was able to perform my routines without losing my concentration,” she added.