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Rhythmic Gymnastics: Russian Duo Eye Third Gold
    2008-08-23 00:40:35     Xinhua
Top qualifier Evgeniya Kanaeva of Russia will aim to win her first Olympic gold and her compatriot Olga Kapranova will further secure the Russian grip on the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around title in the final on Saturday.

Kanaeva, the 2008 European all-around champion, led the qualifications on Thursday and Friday. Although she trailed Kapranova after Thursday's routines with rope and hoop, she pulled ahead of the field with solid performances in her ribbon and clubs routines on Friday.

Mistakes in her ribbon and clubs routines dropped Kapranova, who won the 2005 world champion title and a third place in the 2007 worlds, to second place in qualifications, but her maturity should serve her well in the final.

If Kaparanov avoids the errors she made in qualifications, she will also be a strong contender for the gold medal.

Russia will get its third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the individual all-around final if Kanaeva or Kapranova win on Saturday.

Anna Bessonova of Ukraine, the Athens bronze medallist and the 2007 world champion, performed consistently to qualify for the individual final in third place. But she has the technical content and artistry capable of challenging the title.

The Ukrainian said her lower difficulty value in the qualifications is only a strategy.She will play her full potential in the final, she said.

The top ten gymnasts out of a total of 24 in the qualifications will advance into the final on Saturday.
 
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