Lidiia Iakovleva prepares to face the world

One of Australia’s best and brightest stars in the Rhythmic Gymnastics program, Lidiia Iakovleva cherishes every experience the sport has provided. 

 “Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport like no other, it is so difficult but also so rewarding at the same time,” Iakovleva said.

“To compete at competitions and get personal best scores makes me proud of all the hard work my team and I have put in on a daily basis. 

“Setting and achieving goals is another aspect of this sport which I really love and enjoy. 

“Lastly, travelling overseas, constantly visiting new countries and being able to represent Australia on the world stage is something that is indescribable and I will cherish forever.”

After coming through the Junior levels now to Senior, Iakovleva has witnessed the development of the sport but also hopes for the dance aspect to make a return.

 “Rhythmic gymnastics has evolved immensely over the last few years,” Iakovleva said.

“In 2016, the routines were judged more on their beauty and dance steps as you had to do 3x8 seconds dance in your routine but now, it has become very difficult to get a ‘clean’ routine and catch everything in it as the dance steps moved to 1x8.

“Overall, the difficulty in current routines has increased and improved, yet the elegance and beauty of rhythmic gymnastics has been lost over the last few years. 

“I am hoping that more dance will return into routines in the future, which will bring back its elegance and the beauty of the sport. 

“Also, as it is becoming much more popular with young girls I think the rhythmic gymnastics community will continue to grow especially in Australia.”

Much like any athlete, Iakovleva beams with pride when given the opportunity to represent Australia.

“Representing Australia on the world’s biggest stage means that all the hard work, long training hours, sweat and tears have paid off. 

“It’s an honour and a privilege to compete for Australia, where I have the opportunity to finally achieve my dreams and it will only spur me on further to improve my personal best.”

After just recently transitioning to the Senior International level, Iakovleva remembers her favourite moment of her career so far.

 “Looking back at my sporting career to date, the moment that stands out the most to me is competing at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina. 

“This was such an amazing experience which brought so many emotions during the competition and games. 

 “Receiving a bronze medal in the multi-discipline team event was another huge highlight of the Games and was something I will never forget. 

“Staying in an athlete village allowed me to meet many new friends from different countries and disciplines, and make life-long friendships with other professional athletes.”

Iakovleva now awaits the challenge of competing at the 37th FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku to be held next month.