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Opening Day Of Gymnastics Sees Canada Ahead

Patricia Bezzoubenko (CAN) led the Canadian team to rhythmic gymnastics team Gold at The Hydro on Thursday and qualified for the all-around final and all four apparatus finals in the process.

The 17-year-old performed four solid routines, posting the highest scores of the day with hoop, ball and clubs. Her teammates Annabelle Kovacs and Maria Kitkarska also performed without any major faults.

Wales veteran Francesca Jones (WAL) had a flawless day to help her team secure the Silver, its first medal in the team competition at a Commonwealth Games.

Malaysia failed to challenge Wales for second place after some minor mistakes in its last performances. Fatin Zakirah Zain jalany (MAS), Wong Poh san (MAS) and Amy Dict Weng Kwan (MAS) did ensure, however, that Malaysia remained on the medal table in the rhythmic gymnastics team competition after winning Gold in 1998 and Silver in 2006.

England, the outsiders for a medal in the team event, finished in fourth place with 132,100 points, just ahead of Australia, the 2010 Gold medal winners, who ended up with 126.725.

Each gymnast performed a total of four routines (ribbon, ball, hoop and clubs). The teams completed a total of 12 routines and the top 10 scores were totalled to get the final team result.

Individual all-around

The 16 highest ranked gymnasts qualified for the individual all-around final. A maximum of two gymnasts per Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) were able to qualify for this final.

Bezzoubenko qualified first with 59.575 and will be the favourite for the Gold medal on Friday.

Jones, who finished fourth four years ago, qualified second with 57.275 and has a good chance of claiming a medal. She will be competing in her last individual all-around final as she plans to retire after Glasgow 2014.

Cyprus, a country that did not take part in the team competition as it only had two gymnasts competing in Glasgow, showed a high level of rhythmic gymnastics skills with Themida Christodoulidou (CYP) finishing in third place with 56.025 and Pantelitsa Theodoulou (CYP) finishing fourth 55.725.

Newcomer Laura Halford (WAL), who competed in her first world cup event this year, finished fifth to secure her place in the individuall all-around final with a flawless performance.

Bezzoubenko's teammate Maria KITKARSKA (CAN), who only started rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 10, qualified for the individual all-around final after finishing seventh.

Kwan made it to the final. She completed solid routines on every apparatus and ended up in sixth place. Her teammate Poh san secured her place in the final by finished eighth. Poh san posted the highest score in the ribbon event.

Grace Legote (RSA) rose to the occasion, showing off difficult routines to qualify in ninth place. Danielle Prince (AUS), who missed the all-around final four years ago becasue two of her teammates finished ahead of her, rounded out the top 10.

Stephani Sherlock (ENG) and Lynne Hutchison (ENG) will also be competing in the individual all-around final, which will start at 13:30 on Friday.

Apparatus finals

The top eight ranked gymnasts from the qualification advance to the individual apparatus finals on Saturday. It was Bezzoubenko who topped the standings on three apparatus (hoop, ball and clubs). She will be the favourite for Gold in the hoop final as she beat the competition by more than one point. She qualified for all four apparatus finals.

Jones, who took Silver in the hoop final four years ago, is hungry to win another medal this time around. The Welsh gymnast finished eighth in the hoop qualification and seventh in the ribbon qualifier but secured even better results in the other two apparatus (second in the ball and clubs).

Kwan also secured a spot in all four finals after a near flawless performance in the qualifying round.

Poh san qualified first in the ribbon but a close tussle is expected as little separates the top eight gymnasts' scores. Hutchison finished in second place, with Legote in third.

Legote also qualified for the clubs final after performing a graceful and difficult routine. Theodoulou advances to the hoop, ball and clubs finals after performing difficult and well-executed routines in the qualifications. Her teammate Christodoulidou qualified for the same three event finals, which start on Saturday 26 July at 09.30.

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