Arina and Dina Averina – Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Rising Stars

‘I see a big future in a lot of young gymnasts’ – noted Irina Viner – ‘For example Arina and Dina Averina. Next year they will already start to perform senior exercises. At that stage I will start keeping a close eye on them. Next year there will be Youth Olympic Games where all participants will have a great chance to demonstrate their skills and justify their future in this sport’.

The twins from the left bank of the River Volga are often written about in the federal as well as international press. Unfortunately they are only known by a few rhythmic gymnastics fans in their native region. On 13th August this year the twins have already turned 15 years old – the key career point in this kind of sports discipline.

Dina and Arina have been doing gymnastics since they were four. They went to school up until they were 12 – but not like everybody else. They had to study every subject individually apart from music, drawing, PE, handycraft and Health & Safety. Training takes most of their time. The interesting fact is that, growing up in a small town, they have become members of the Russian National Team.
Later their sports career took them away to the Olympic Training Center in Moscow, bypassing the Nizhny Novgorod School of the Olympic Reserve – a rare event for a provincial town. So far Dina and Arina have attained master of sports qualification, won the Russian and international championships and became members of the junior national team. Moreover, twins are representing a regional armed forces team!
Training schedule is extremely hard – 10am to 13pm and 2pm to 5pm every single day. On top of that they have to study the school subjects.

Twin sisters are being coached by Vera Shatalina who is a head coach of the youth national team for individual rhythmic gymnastics. Vera Shatalina is an honoured coach in Russia having coached Alina Kabaeva (Olympic champion, 2 times world and 5 times European champion) and Olga Kapranova (world champion). The training sessions are overseen by Irina Viner.

When it comes to the twins, their loved ones are always asked about how they tell them apart. Twin sisters turn out to be completely different to their coach. ‘Dina is a 100% athlete – she is very upset if she doesn’t take the first place. Arina is much softer and always cares for her sister as well as rivals’ – said Vera Shatalina – ‘I can tell them apart even when I speak to one of them on the phone. Some people often claim that young talents like these are deprived of their childhood. It’s just plain wrong – they are normal kids! If we analyze this issue, we will find that the free time that the junior gymnasts and average kids have is about the same. Ones simply spend their time training while others – using computers. Children these days are not particularly interested in doing sports or something in the natural environment. What you end up with is what you have worked for very hard – in this case, it’s either the results and healthy body, or a tainted vision.

In July 2013 VI Russian Student Spartakiada, which was held in Penza, brought together 152 participants from all across the nation. The competition was very tough and the team from Nizhny Novgorod took second place. Arina Averina took second place in the all-around – she won the hoop exercise and won silver for the ribbon and ball exercises. Dina took gold for the clubs exercise and two bronze medals in the all-around and ribbon exercise. By the way, this was a qualifying tournament for a trip to the fifth Russian-Chinese Youth Games in Shanghai.
According to the coach, the sports arena has been recently dominated by a good trend: the majority of the Olympic geniuses now come from the province. For example, there is only one gymnast from Moscow in the rhythmic national team (aged 15) which includes Averina twins. Ira Annenkova is from Sochi and Julia Bravikova – from Oryol . In October, Averina sisters are going to participate in the Russian Cup with the international competition tour after that. The girls are never told in advance of where they are going to go as they always have to be ready for performance.