2017 Worlds Championships News
Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 02 October 2017 14:00    PDF Print
Worlds Preview: Men's Qualification, Session 3
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Japan's Kohei Uchimura begins his quest for an unprecedented seventh consecutive world all-around title.

The final qualification session of the day will be the most exciting yet, with host Canada competing alongside the three team medalists from Rio: Japan, Russia and China.

In a star-studded lineup, Japan's Kohei Uchimura still rules as the biggest name as he begins his quest for an unprecedented seventh consecutive world all-around title.

Floor Exercise: China, Canada and Mongolia

The host Canadian team shares the spotlight with China in this group. British Columbia's Zachary Clay is the only gymnast competing all-around. After tearing his ACL after the 2015 Worlds, he made his comeback at this year's Canadian championships, where he captured the all-around title. Olympian Scott Morgan is competing floor exercise and still rings. The Canadian team also includes two gymnasts from Quebec, René Cournoyer (competing four events) and Thierry Pellerin (pommel horse).

With no team title to worry about, China sent its top specialists and will be out for revenge after a dismal performance in Rio, where the team bronze was the only medal. China's lineup includes two-time Olympian Zhang Chenglong (2010 world champion on high bar), and 2016 Olympians Liu Yang (2014 world champion on still rings) and Lin Chaopan (2013 world champion on parallel bars). Xiao Ruoteng, 9th at the 2015 Worlds, and Lin will be competing all-around.

Both born in 1998, Weng Hao and Zou Jingyuan are making their world debuts, but could make big impacts. Pommel horse specialist Weng scored 15.400 at the 2017 World Cup in Baku, and Zou is incredible on parallel bars, scoring 16.166 at the World Cup in Doha.

Pommel Horse: Russia, Hungary and Latvia

Two-time Olympians Denis Ablyazin and David Belyavsky and 2016 Olympian Nikita Nagornyy headline a strong squad from Russia, which includes newcomers Arthur Dalaloyan and Sergei Yeltsov and veteran Nikita Ignatyev. At the Russian Cup in August, Ablyazin made a strong comeback after a break caused by chronic injuries to his feet, but they must have returned as in Montreal he's only in the lineup for still rings. Belyavsky, current European champion on pommel horse, barely lost to Nagornyy at the Russian Cup and is still searching for a major all-around medal. Dalaloyan had an outstanding European championships, finishing second all-around to Ukrainian Oleg Vernyayev and winning vault, but a disappointing performance at the Russian Cup (fourth) resulted in him being bumped from the all-around in Montreal in favor of Nagornyy. Nagornyy has potential for several finals, especially floor exercise, where his triple back is the best in the world.

Ignatyev was pulled from Russia's Olympic lineup in Rio at the last minute in favor of Ivan Stretovich (recoving from elbow surgery). He is in the lineup for high bar only, giving him just one chance to finally impress Russia's coaches at the world championships.

Hungary is without the services of world and Olympic pommel horse champion Krisztián Berki, who finished second to Belyavsky at Europeans (thanks to a .1 neutral deduction). Berki withdrew from worlds a few weeks ago because of a lingering shoulder injury that has not been responding to conservative treatment. With his ultimate goal being 2020, Berki saw no point in postponing surgery and decided to start recovery as soon as possible.

Still Rings: Australia and Japan

Undefeated since his silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, Kohei Uchimura is still going strong at 28. He originally planned to become an event specialist after last year's Olympics, where he won his second consecutive all-around title, but changed his mind and is gunning for a seventh consecutive world all-around title in Montreal. He captured this year's NHK Trophy with a two-day score of 172.900 (86.550 and 86.350), but was pushed by Olympic teammate Kenzo Shirai, who has made huge improvement in the all-around (scoring 86.450 and 86.100). Shirai, the two-time world champion on floor exercise and Olympic vault bronze medalist, is not just a specialist anymore.

Japan's lineup includes 2013 world pommel horse champion Kohei Kameyama, and world championships newcomers Keisuke Asato, Hidetaka Miyachi and Wataru Tanigawa.

Christopher Remkes is Australia's best shot at a final. So far this year Remkes won vault in Baku and took the silver medal at the World Cup in Melbourne.

Vault: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia

Former Soviet republics Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan compete in the same group. Azerbaijan fired coach Pavel Netreba last fall, and he returned to Ukraine along with his gymnasts Pavel Pakhnyuk and Oleg Stepko, who both competed at the 2016 Olympics. Pakhnyuk is already back on the Ukrainian team while Stepko, who won the bronze medal on parallel bars at the 2015 Worlds, is taking time off while he considers his future. Azerbaijan sent two gymnasts to Montreal: Hungarian native Bence Tálas and Murad Agharzayev.

Georgia is going in the direction of Azerbaijan and has acquired several Russians. Dmitry Govorov and Konstantin Kuzovkov are competing in Montreal. (Alla Sotsnitskaya is also considering joining the Georgian women's team.) Kazakhstan sent three gymnasts and its best hope is 18-year-old Milad Karimi, a finalist on floor exercise in Baku.

Parallel Bars: Portugal, France and Slovenia

The French should have tremendous support in Montreal, and Samir Aït Saïd will no doubt be an audience favorite. Aït Saïd is back, 14 months after his horrifying leg injury in Rio, and is better than ever on still rings. Two-time pommel horse world medalist Cyril Tommasone is another potential finalist.

Sašo Bertoncelj is continuing the tradition of great pommel horse specialists from Slovenia, and the three-time world championships finalist is aiming for his first medal.

High Bar: Spain, Romania and Dominican Republic

Spain is without 2015 world floor exercise bronze medalist Rayderley Zapata, who tore his Achilles' tendon two weeks ago at the Paris World Cup. Veteran Marian Drăgulescu is still Romania's best medal shot, but is competing vault only.

Dominican Audrys Nin Reyes, who won vault at this year's World Cup events in Paris and Osijek and the University Games, has a real shot at becoming his country's first world medalist. Nin is outstanding on vault, where he risks the Ri (full-twisting Tsukahara double back).

Up next: The fourth and final qualification session for the men will be held Tuesday morning, featuring Brazil, Italy, Korea and the Netherlands. Follow IG on Facebook for live quick hits of the action in Montreal.

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 02 October 2017 10:19    PDF Print
Worlds Preview: Men's Qualification, Session 2
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After a year-long break, double Olympic champion Max Whitlock (Great Britain) is back in action Monday in Montreal in the second of four subdivisions of men's qualification.

After a year-long break, double Olympic champion Max Whitlock (Great Britain) is back in action Monday in Montreal in the second of four subdivisions of men's qualification, which also features Canada's neighbor to the south the United States and a host of gymnasts from the Americas.

Floor Exercise: Belarus, Egypt and Cyprus

Belarus entered four gymnasts from the team's 16th-place squad at the last world championships in Glasgow, where they grabbed the final spot to the second Olympic qualifier in April 2016 in Rio. Surprisingly, Belarus withdrew as a team from the test event because of injuries. Andrei Likhovitsky qualified as an individual and finished 18th all-around.

Cypriot Olympian Marios Georgiou is also back after a disappointing exit in Rio, where he qualified to the all-around final but was injured halfway through and was forced to withdraw.

Pommel Horse: Norway, Hong Kong and Guatemala

Guatemala's hopes rest on Tokyo hopeful Jorge Vega, who is aiming for the floor final. He already won gold in Canada two years ago at the Pan American Games in Toronto, and he took another floor title more recently at the Paris World Challenge Cup two weeks ago.

Still Rings: Denmark, Mexico and Thailand

Kevin Cerda leads the Mexican squad in the absence of 2013 world championship pommel horse silver medalist Daniel Corral, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Mexican-American Fabian De Luna, who trains with the legendary Vitaly Scherbo in Las Vegas, is competing in his second world championships for Mexico.

Vault: United States, Argentina and Belgium

2016 Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist Alex Naddour and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are the only members of the U.S. Olympic team in Montreal, where the Americans will be aiming for as many spots in finals as possible. New national champion Yul Moldauer is the only all-arounder. Naddour (pommel horse) and Mikulak (only competing high bar) both have strong chances for a final, as does Donnell Whittenburg on rings and vault. Bulgarian-American Eddie Penev is making his world championship debut for the U.S. in Montreal but formerly represented Bulgaria, qualifying for the floor final in 2010. He has a good shot at the floor final again in Montreal, and he will be trying two vaults. Marvin Kimble, like Moldauer competing in his first worlds, is competing pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

Parallel Bars: Switzerland and Great Britain

Max Whitlock took a well-deserved break from competition after his record-breaking performance in Rio, where he won the all-around bronze medal and scored double gold on floor and pommel horse. He's competing those two events only in Montreal, where he will try to repeat as world champion on pommel horse. Nile Wilson, third on high bar in Rio, is competing all-around, while 2012 Olympian Dan Purvis is competing parallel bars only. Courtney Tulloch has a good chance at the rings finals, where he finished sixth in 2014.

Switzerland entered three gymnasts only in Pablo Brägger, Oliver Hegi and Eddy Yusof, who were members of Switzerland's Olympic team in Rio, where Yusof finished 12th all-around and Brägger 16th. Both are competing all-around while Hegi, a high bar finalist at the 2014 Worlds, is competing pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

High Bar: India, Croatia and Trinidad & Tobago

Croatia is still best known for its pommel horse workers, and its team includes 2008 Olympic silver medalist Filip Ude and four-time world championship finalist Robert Seligman. Tin Srbić, who has racked up World Cup medals on high bar, is making his world championships debut.

Joseph Fox, who trains alongside Nile Wilson at Leeds Gymnastics Club, is making his world debut for Trinidad & Tobago.

Up next: The final qualification session of the day will be the most exciting yet, with host Canada competing alongside the team medalists from Rio: Japan, Russia and China!

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 02 October 2017 06:33    PDF Print
Worlds Preview: Men's Qualification, Session 1
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The 2017 World Championships begin with a bang Monday morning, with two Olympic champions from last summer's Games in Rio de Janeiro taking the floor at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Pictured: Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine)

The 2017 World Championships begin with a bang Monday morning in the first of four subdivisions of men's qualifications. Two Olympic champions from last summer's Games in Rio de Janeiro will take the floor at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, along with the defending all-around silver medalist from the 2015 Worlds.

With no team competition at this year's world championships, all the gymnasts competing in qualification will be aiming for medals, finals or just a personal best. The high caliber of men's gymnastics continues to grow around the world, as evidenced by more countries producing world-class gymnasts, most notably from Latin America.

Floor Exercise: Chinese Taipei and Germany

Four-time Olympian Fabian Hambüchen has officially retired after realizing his dream of Olympic gold in Rio on high bar, but veteran Marcel Nguyen is still going toward a fourth Olympic Games. Injured on floor exercise in Rio, Andreas Toba will compete a few events only. Ivan Rittschik (pommel horse) and Andreas Bretschneider (high bar) have chances for finals. Taipei continues to improve under Japanese coach Masao Hamada; Tang Chia-Hung won gold on floor exercise at this year's FIG World Challenge Cup in Doha.

Pommel Horse: Bulgaria, Uzbekistan and Armenia

The Armenian men boast two Olympians in world pommel horse medalist Harutyun Merdinyan and Artur Davtyan. Davtyan is a two-time European championships medalist on vault, while Vahagn Davtyan was a finalist on still rings at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, and has an element named after him. Bulgaria is represented by Bulgarian-American Yordan Aleksandrov, a senior at Cal-Berkeley.

Still Rings: Greece and Sweden

Olympic still rings champion Eleftherios Petrounias is the safest gold medal bet in Montreal, and the only gymnast who truly dominates any one event. He begins on his specialty and it will be interesting if will be outscored in qualification, in the case he is a victim of tight scoring in the early rounds.

Vault: Jamaica, Venezuela and Iceland

A diverse group of gymnasts is packed into this group, which interestingly includes three gymnasts from Jamaica. Former British team member Reiss Beckford, after his disappointment of not being sent to the Rio test event, is a sentimental favorite.

Parallel Bars: Ukraine, Israel and Algeria

All eyes will be on Ukraine's Oleg Vernyayev in this subdivision. The Olympic parallel bars champion is the best hope to finally defeat the undefeatable Kohei Uchimura of Japan. Vernyayev was gracious in his defeat last summer, losing the all-around title to King Kohei by a painfully thin .099, but there can be no question he wants to finally wear the all-around crown. In addition to parallel bars, Vernyayev is a potential finalist on several events, including pommel horse and vault. Despite being in his teammate's shadow, Petro Pakhnyuk has been hugely impressive this year since rejoining the Ukrainian team after several years of representing Azerbaijan. Pakhnyuk has improved significantly over the past year and has a shot at finals on floor exercise, pommel horse and parallel bars. Teammate Igor Radivilov has a good chance of finals on rings and vault if he hits, although the outrageous handspring triple front he attempted in Rio is a thing of the past.

Three-time Olympian Alexander Shatilov is absent, but Israel is represented by Artem Dolgopyat, who is actually a native of Ukraine. The springy Dolgopyat can do a triple back on floor exercise but may not risk it in qualification.

High Bar: Cuba, Qatar and Vietnam

After an injury left him disappointed in Rio, Cuba's Manrique Larduet is back in Montreal. He has not competed in any major international meets this year, but should be a contender for all-around, parallel bars and high bar finals if he is fully healthy.

Up next: The United States and Great Britain take the floor in subdivision two!

Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 01 October 2017 03:15    PDF Print
Despite Limited Start In Montreal, Mikulak Stays Positive
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Slated to compete on only high bar at the World Championships that begin Monday in Montreal, four-time U.S. men's all-around champion Sam Mikulak told IG that he is pacing his return to the all-around following a torn Achilles' tendon he suffered earlier this year.

Slated to compete on only high bar at the world championships that begin Monday in Montreal, four-time U.S. men's all-around champion Sam Mikulak told IG that he is pacing his return to the all-around following a torn Achilles' tendon he suffered earlier this year.

"I've got an injury and there's nothing I can do about it," said Mikulak in a chat in the October 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine."Come next year I'll be ready to tackle the all-around again."

The October 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine includes "Anaheim Anecdotes," a collection of vignettes and chats from the P&G (U.S) Championships in Anaheim in August. Featured in the collection are Mikulak, Donnell Whittenburg, Yul Moldauer, Allan Bower, Ragan Smith, Jordan Chiles, Maile O'Keefe and Emma Malabuyo. The issue also includes a two-page center poster of Smith.

To take advantage of IG's 2017 Worlds discount subscription offer for the print and/or digital editions, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 24 September 2017 15:30    PDF Print
British Breakouts Result of Positive Mindset, Says Hann
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

As the British men's team prepares for the upcoming world championships in Montreal, coach Scott Hann told IG that the British national team's recent achievements result from a confident mental perspective.

As the British men's team prepares for the upcoming world championships in Montreal, coach Scott Hann told IG that the British national team's recent achievements result from a confident mental perspective.

"British gymnasts start their journeys now with a mindset of performance and success, rather than participation and development," Hann said.

Hann is the personal coach of 2016 Olympic double gold medalist Max Whitlock, who was one of five British male gymnasts nominated for worlds. Whitlock is making his return to competition after taking a post-Olympic break this spring.

The other British gymnasts slated for Worlds are 2016 Olympic high bar bronze medalist Nile Wilson, 2017 European rings silver medalist Courtney Tulloch, 2017 European all-around bronze medalist James Hall, 2017 British all-around champion Joe Fraser and 2012 Olympic team bronze medalist Dan Purvis.

Read an eight-page 2017 World Championships preview report and photo gallery, and an interview with Hann, in the September 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.


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