New scoring system for rhythmic gymnastics

KUALA LUMPUR: A new Olympic cycle begins – and with it a new scoring system for rhythmic gymnastics.

The International Gymnastics Federation’s (FIG) new code of points for rhythmic gymnastics promises to go back to the basics, with more emphasis on artistry.

Rhythmic gymnastics technical committee president Maria Szyszkowska said that apart from the scoring, the new code will also encourage the incorporation of dance steps – an element that has been missing from the routines in recent years.

“Under the new code, the routines will be more interesting, with a lot more variety and no repetition,” Szyszkowska said when met at the Bukit Jalil gymnasium yesterday.

The new code, she added, will encourage gymnasts and coaches to be more creative with their routines.

“More emphasis will be placed on the mastery of the fundamentals of gymnastics and movements with the apparatus. We want to see more dynamic routines and mastery of the apparatus,” she said.

“It will be more beautiful to watch, great for the spectators and great for TV.”

She also pointed out that the new code “is simple but less tolerant”, with stricter judging criteria.

Routines will now be judged on just two criteria – difficulty and execution.

Difficulty involves body difficulty, dance steps combination, dynamic element with rotation and throw and apparatus mastery. Execution takes into account artistic and technical faults.

The new code also allows gymnasts to use music with vocals for one of their exercises.

Szyszkowska, who is here to conduct a seminar on FIG’s new code of points, also watched the back-up squad in training and offered them pointers on how to improve their routines.

“I like the girls. Wong Poh San and Olivia Tai look very promising,” she said.

“Overall, there is a good quality of girls here. They have good expressions and convey a lot of emotions in their performances. They just need to keep practising their pivots and ballet. Give them time to mature … with good choreography they will do great.”

The new code of points will be introduced at the World Cup in Tartu, Estonia, next February but Szyszkowska feels that the real test will be at the 32nd World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine, in September next year.

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