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Russian coach’s South African pupil wins title of Africa’s top rhythmic gymnast

March 31, 2014, 0:01 UTC+3 PRETORIA
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PRETORIA, March 30. /ITAR-TASS/. South Africa’s Grace Legote, coached by Tatiana Lavrenchuk of Russia, has proved to be Africa’s top rhythmic gymnast by winning the Individual all-round category at the 12th African Gymnastics Championships at the University of Pretoria Indoor Sports Centre, in Tshwane on Sunday.

Apart from gold in the all-round category, Legote, 21, won gold in the apparatus events with ball, clubs and ribbon and became second only in hoop exercise.

South Africa’s national team was the winner in the team event.

Legote and her team were silver medalists at the previous African Gymnastics Championships.

“I am happy,” Legote’s coach, Tatiana Lavrenchuk, told Itar-Tass. “She is becoming stonger and stronger year after year. It’s only natural that Russia’s acclaimed coach Irina Viner-Usmanova noticed Grace when the latter was performing at the Grand Prix 2014 rhythmic gymnastics tournament in Moscow. She promised to help polish her skills.”

Lavrenchuk said she planned to send her pupil to a training camp in Russia. “She has a specific African grace and sense of rhythm. She has always been met with sympathy by the audience,” she added.

Lavrenchuk’s husband, Oleg Vizer, is the coach of South Africa’s artistic gymnastics junior team, which won the silver medal at this year’s Championships, having yielded only to Egypt.

Another Russian coach, Yuri Demyanenko, trains South African acrobatic gymnasts.

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