Belarus’ capital Minsk is set to host the latest leg of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) World Challenge Cup this weekend as athletes from 24 countries descend on the Falcon Club.
The two-day event will see competition held in senior rhythmic individual and group categories at the venue.
It will provide many of the competing athletes the opportunity to hone their preparations for the 2017 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, which are scheduled to take place from August 30 to September 3 in Italian town Pesaro.
Irina Leparskaya, head coach of the Belarusian rhythmic gymnastics national team, has confirmed that the host nation will have an eight-strong athlete delegation.
Among those due to feature is Katsiaryna Halkina, who finished sixth in the individual all-around final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
She will be joined on the team by the likes of Alina Harnasko, the bronze medallist in the ball at the 2017 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships in Hungary’s capital Budapest.
"This is a new generation that is getting ready for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo," Leparskaya was reported as saying by BelTA.
Speaking about the event, she added: "It will be a festival of sports.
"The best athletes of 24 countries are expected to take part in the competitions."
Russia dominated the most recent FIG World Challenge Cup in the Spanish city of Guadalajara, winning all but one gold medal at the rhythmic event.
Polina Khonina took the all-around title as well as two individual gold medals at the Pabellón Multiusos Guadalajara.
Her compatriot Ekaterina Selezneva won the other two solo titles, while Russia also prevailed in the team all-around final and the three balls and two ropes competition.
Only Japan’s victory in the five hoops final prevented a Russian clean sweep.