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Rhythmic team impress on international debut

24 August 2010

Four 15-year-old girls from Sydney became the first Australian junior team to compete internationally in the rhythmic gymnastic group event tonight, at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games.

Fotini Panselinos, Soriah MacLean, Morgan Turner and Summer Walker were the underdogs but they performed two exceptional routines and showed the rest of the world how much talent there is down under.

Their combined score of 37.150 points for their hoop and ribbon routines placed them sixth - four points shy of a place in the four-team final and two points behind host nation Singapore.

For the hoop they performed to music from the Angels and Demons movie, dressed in black and silver. For the ribbon they reappeared in new brilliant red and blue outfits and increased the pace to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. 

They were a big hit with the thousands of Singaporean fans and there was plenty of Australian supporters in the packed and often deafening stadium. 

 “This was a great experience, one we’ll never forget,” Maclean said.

“We’re really thanking all our supporters for coming out here today the support has been wonderful,” Turner added. 

The girls and their coach Delia Halmu were disappointed they hadn’t delivered perfect routines but they confirmed they belong alongside rhythmic gymnastics powerhouses like Russia and Japan.  

“They weren’t our best routines tonight but we tried our hardest,” Panselinos said. 

The girls have only be training together as a complete team for the past year and left no stone unturned including working with Bulgarian choreographers for their routines.

“We’ve been training seven days a week for this and we’ve put it all on the line,” Walker said. 

Russia, Japan, Egypt and Canada all qualified for tomorrow’s medal rounds.  

The Australian girls now get a well deserved rest and can enjoy some of the Singapore sites with family and friends.  

Andrew Reid

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