As we’re counting down the last hours till the start of the most highly anticipated event by rhythmic gymnastics fans, the World Championships returning to Bulgaria 31 years later, the Beauty in sport team managed to sneak in behind the scenes of the “Arena Armeec” hall and visited places which will soon be a no-go zone.
In the training hall and tent little gymnasts are currently exercising, in order for the carpets to be “stamped”. “The carpets we ordered are brand new and we needed some time to break them in, because they were still a little slippery and were letting out some lint. The kids have been training here since monday so we’re almost already done with that.”, we were told by the staff.
Everywhere in the “Armeec” hall you can find branded posters featuring the face of the competition Radina Filipova, there are carpets so clean you’re afraid to walk on them and everything is as neat as a new pin. “The entire organization is so detailed, FIG are watching our every move – move this 10cm to the left or take that to the next floor. They’re not sparing us anyhing, but we don’t give them much reason to. We follow strictly their instructions and very soon you’ll see what we’re capable of and what we’ve done”, said BGRGF members and executives.
The halls have turned to labyrinths, every step of the way there are cabinets and halls for everyone who’s gonna be a part of this event. There are offices for FIG’s president Morinari Watanabe and his co-executives, for the judges, the delegations, the technical staff, etc.
Of course, day in and day out you can spot the president of the federation Iliana Raeva walking miles in those corridors, alongside her the ambassador of this year’s championships and 3 time AA World title holder – Maria Petrova. Wherever you go, you can spot a “golden girl” – today we met European champions Julia Mumdjieva and Elizabeth Koleva, followed by World Champion in the last edition Bulgaria hosted – Varna 1987, Elena Lazarova, who’s been supporting the national team for years now. A little down the hall we notice the latest generation of “golden girls” – Rio 2016 bronze medalists Hristiana Todorova and Lubomira Kazanova, both of which have their own very responsible tasks. “They have been an immense help, we couldn’t have done it without them”, says Raeva, already on her way to another meeting.
In the main hall technicians are hard at work, making sure everything runs smoothly. The flags for the 61 participating countries are prepared. There are just a couple of days left. Sofia is waiting for you, welcome….