To impress the audience...

Photo © V. Minkus : Anna Bessonova (UKR)

Moutier, September 2003 - Bessonova was brilliant during the World Championships in Budapest winning 2 Gold and 4 Silver medals. Shortly before the competition, our expert Vera Atkinson catched up with the new star Anna Bessonova (UKR).

The youngest in the Ukrainian team at the World Championships in Osaka'99, made the RG specialists write her name immediately in their notebooks.
Bessonova’s culture of body movement, her elegance and overall appeal seems to have been inherited from her famous Ukrainian predecessors:

Irina Deriugina (World champion in 1977 and 1979), who is now coaching Anna together with her mother Albina Deriugina, the doyen of Ukrainian Rhythmic Gymnastics; the 1992 Olympic champion Alexandra Timoshenko; the 1996 Olympic Champion Ekaterina Serebrianskaya; the 1997 World and European champion Elena Vitrichenko, and numerous other World class gymnasts.

For two years Anna took the role of the permanent "Princess" in the Ukrainian team, remaining in the shadow of her senior teammate Tamara Yerofeeva. This situation changed in the summer 2002, when she won her first World Gold medal as a member of the Ukrainian Group (Ribbon routine), in New Orleans. She then dominated the World Cup Final in Stuttgart, in November, by winning the first place with Hoop, Rope and Clubs.

The year 2003 presented more evidence that International Rhythmic Gymnastics is now having a real challenger to the mighty Russian "RG Queens" Kabaeva and Tchachina, who are back on the competition floor after nearly a year of "rest".

From the beginning of the season 2003, Anna added to her collection another "triple Gold" at the 2003 Europeans in Riesa (Hoop, Clubs and Ribbon), meanwhile winning the Ukrainian National title for the second time and a number of medals at World Cup Qualifiers and Grand Prix events.

With the World Championships in Budapest (which is also serving as a 2004 Olympic Qualification) approaching, she remains focussed on her main target: "to perform successfully and impress the audience".

Q: What do you consider your chances to win in Budapest, Anna?

A: I don't like making prognosis and therefore, I don't think about Budapest associating it with a specific place on the rostrum. All I am concerned about is how to perform to the maximum of my ability. If I manage to achieve this, I believe that the outcome will be as positive as my coaches and myself want it to be.

Q: Will you present anything new at the World Championships?

A:In general, I will present the routines that I have performed in the last major events. However, they were improved by some new elements and connections and new artistic touches. I will also perform in new costumes, which I hope the audience will like.

Q: It seems that the audience is your greatest concern...

A: It is, because, it is the best indicator of a real value. At the end of the day, nothing is so rewarding as the spontaneous, wholehearted applause coming from the tribunes.

Q: Are there any moments in your career so far, that you wish had never happened to you?

A: There are two of them- my recovery from injury after the World Championships in Osaka'99 (i.e. in Japan Bessonova competed with a broken foot), and the doping "scandal" I went through a year ago. These things would affect badly any competitor and I needed a lot of strength to overcome the negative consequences of them.

By Vera Atkinson