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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 10:43, December 10, 2006
Kazakhstan wins first team title at Asiad rhythmic gymnastics
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Kazakhstan won their first rhythmic gymnastics team title with a stylish display at the Doha Asian Games on Saturday.

Japan took the silver medal with 144.750 points, failing to close the gap with Asian champions Kazakhstan, who performed in the final rotation to finish with 148.600 and earned the top combined score on three apparatuses (rope, ball and ribbon).

China took the bronze medal with 142.775 points, ending their sweep of the team titles since rhythmic gymnastics was included in the Asian Games in 1998.

Team leader Aliya Yussupova of Kazakhstan performed with fluid movement, artistry and expression to lift Kazakhstan's score.

She excelled on the ribbon (16.200) with graceful ballet-like movements as her sparkling pink and white ribbon trailed elegantly behind her. She mesmerized the crowd with her renowned flexibility, stretching her leg over her shoulder and resting her foot under her chin as she twirled a club in either hand.

Yussupova's efforts, the top scorer on each apparatus, have qualified her as the top gymnast for the individual all-around final on Sunday, but she will be hoping to fix the minor errors evident in her routines during this team final.

Maiya Zainullina also shone for the Kazakhstan team, beaming during her energetic ribbon routine (14.675) on her way to qualifying to the individual all-around in second place (43.400).

Japan fought to close a 1.165 point gap with Kazakhstan after two apparatuses, but inconsistency prevented them from closing the gap.

Al Yokochi of Japan combined fast illusion turn with high leaps, but teammate Yukai Murata contributed the greatest score to the team total (44.725) in myriad pirouettes around the floor.

Xiao Yiming of China performed strongly, but the remaining Chinese gymnasts could not match the skill and expression of Kazakhstan and Japan.

Source: Xinhua

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