Worlds Preview: Women's Qualification, Session 2
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Host Canada will share the spotlight with Russia in the second of five subdivisions of women's qualification as the 2017 World Championships continue Tuesday evening at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Pictured: Is a world medal in reach for Ellie Black?

Host Canada will share the spotlight with Russia in the second of five subdivisions of women's qualification as the 2017 World Championships continue Tuesday evening at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Vault: South Africa, Vietnam and India

This group starts out on vault, where all six gymnasts will attempt two vaults. India sent two gymnasts to Montreal, but Olympic vault finalist Dipa Karmakar is absent. Karmakar is recovering from a leg injury and aiming for next year's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

South Africa's lineup includes Claudia Cummins, who was invited to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games as a continental representative for Africa, based on her finish at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow. The South African Olympic Committee, however, declined the invitation, stating it would only support an athlete who qualified outright, a big disappointment for South African gymnastics.


Yelena Yeryomina (Russia) during podium training in Monteal

Uneven Bars: Belgium, Canada and Hong Kong

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, the bronze medalist on beam in 2006, is the only Canadian female to have won a world medal, but that could change in Montreal. The host Canadians have several shots at finals. Two-time Olympian Ellie Black was a close fifth in the all-around at last year's Olympics. She had the best meet of her life at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, and a similar performance in Montreal could finally bring her a world medal or two. Shallon Olsen (vault) and Isabella Onyshko (balance beam) were Olympic finalists in Rio. First-year senior Brooklyn Moors, younger sister of 2012 Olympian Victoria Moors, is competing all-around in her world debut.

Belgium begins on its strongest event. The team headliner is Nina Derwael, who made history this spring by winning uneven bars at the European championships. She submitted a new skill, a Ricna-half (also submitted by Georgia-Mae Fenton of Great Britain, who performed it successfully in the first subdivision), which was given a difficulty rating of F.

Balance Beam: Israel and Russia

Russia starts on balance beam, where all-arounders Angelina Melnikova and Yelena Yeryomina both have potential for finals — if they hit. Melnikova has struggled all year with consistency in the all-around, though she managed to win floor exercise at Europeans. Yeryomina, a first-year senior, is a fun gymnast to watch but seems to lack confidence. A fall on beam left her in fourth all-around at Europeans, but she won the silver medal on uneven bars. Two-time Olympic vault medalist Maria Paseka is competing one event only, while first-year senior Anastasia Ilyankova is slated for bars and beam. Ilyankova is fantastic on uneven bars, but has been struggling with a back injury and was questionable for Montreal a few weeks ago.

Floor Exercise: Egypt and Portugal

Sherine El-Zeiny, a dual citizen of the Netherlands and Egypt, was the beneficiary of South Africa's decision not to send Cummins to Rio. El-Zeiny was given the invitation as the next ranked gymnast at the 2015 Worlds, and she competed in a third Olympic Games. Portugal's Ana Filipa Martins was 37th all-around in Rio, missing the qualification to the final, but she was a finalist at the 2014 Worlds, finishing a record 16th in the final.

Up next: Competition continues Wednesday morning with the Netherlands, Romania, and Switzerland in subdivision three.

 

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