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Written by Christian Ivanov    Sunday, 28 October 2018 00:00    PDF Print
World Preview: Women's Qualification Day 2
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Day four at the World Championships in Doha continues with the last five subdivisions of the women’s qualifications.  Even with an average day China, Russia, Great Britain, Canada, Brazil and France should be able to join United States and Japan, the top qualifiers from day one, to the team finals.

China’s best all-arounder here in Doha is Chen Yile, but probably not a contender for the podium.  However, the team has potential for two finals on bars and beam as well as a vault final from Liu Jinru.

Russia’s podium training was very casual with many of the gymnasts receiving spots on a lot of their tumbling; however, they’ve shown better consistency as of late with the prime example being this year’s European championships where they hit 12/12 in the team final.  The Russian team is not expected to challenge the US, but just like the Chinese, their hopes are to land on the podium.  After giving birth last year to a baby girl, Aliya Mustafina is back competing for the team on bars, beam and floor.  Angelina Melnikova has potential in the all-around and floor if she manages to be consistent.  At this point Melnikova is probably Russia’s best chance for a bar final if she hits with her full difficulty.

Great Britain’s team is stacked with high level bar routines, and perhaps that is the only event where they have prospects for the individual event finals.  Becky Downie with her 6.6-set is a real possibility for a medal and even the gold if she hits perfectly.  Ellie Downie should comfortably make the all-around final.

The French team will rely on Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, who was 5th in the all-around in Montreal last year.  In addition to the all-around dos Santos has a real possibility to make finals on bars, beam and floor.  Her teammates Juliette Bossu and Marine Boyer would be aiming at a bar and beam final respectively.

Ellie Black, silver medalist in the all-around in Montreal is Canada’s best chance of a medal again.  Black also made the vault, beam and floor finals last year and could get in any of them depending on the quality of her performances.  Brooklyn Moors, one of the most artistic gymnasts currently plans to compete on floor Podkopaeva (double front half out), layout to double front and 2 ½ to front full and if she hits could repeat making the final.  Teammate Shallon Olsen, Rio Olympics vault finalist, plans a Cheng and a Yurchenko double twist and could make final if she lands both.

Under the new leadership of Valery Liukin the explosive team of Brazil could be one of the dark horses here in Doha.  With a strong performance the team should not only make team finals but also place ahead of many of the team finalists and perhaps get on the podium if one of the top teams opens the door.  Flavia Saraiva, Rio Olympics beam finalist, could challenge for a medal on that event.  We should also expect to see her in the all-around final.

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Written by Christian Ivanov    Friday, 26 October 2018 23:36    PDF Print
World Preview: Women's Qualification Day 1
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The first day of competition will feature six of the eleven subdivisions for the women but all eyes will be on subdivision five which includes Simone Biles and team USA who are expected to dominate the competition here in Doha.  The US team has won the team and all-around titles at every World and Olympic games since 2010, when Aliya Mustafina and her Russian team won the titles. The three time all-around champion Biles is returning to her first international competition after a year off from gymnastics following the Rio Olympics. The 21 year old is expected to win titles here on vault, beam, floor and the all-around.  On vault Biles may debut a new vault, a round off handspring half on double twisting front layout off, which if she performs it successfully would be named after her.

Biles’ teammates Morgan Hurd, the defending all-around champion from a year ago, and Riley McCusker will also be competing in the all-around.  With only two competitiors per country one will have a great chance to join Biles as a medalist.  Other potential event finalists for the team could be: bars (McCusker, Biles or Hurd), beam (Hurd or Kara Eaker) and floor (Hurd or Grace McCallum) all depending on how they compete in their qualification round.

Others to watch:

Japan’s Mai Murakami, who just missed the podium in the all-around at last year’s worlds but won the floor title, is once again a legitimate contender for a medal on both events.  With a solid competition Japan could easily make the team final.

Germany is competing without last year’s beam medalists Pauline Schafer and Tabea Alt.  However the team has huge potential on bars (Kim Bui fourth at this year’s European championships, Elisabeth Seitz finalist at last year’s worlds and Sophie Scheder bronze medalist from the Rio Olympics).

Netherlands will rely on Olympic beam champion Sanne Wevers who looked really prepared on the event during the podium’s training. The team has potential for the team finals however a top 12 finish is more realistic.

Belgium’s Nina Derwael, bronze medalist on bars at last year's worlds, has prepared a 6.5 set and is the favorite for the title.  Derwael, who also has potential on beam, should easily qualify to the all-around final as well.

Diana Varinska from Ukraine was in the uneven bars and all-around finals last year in Montreal and could better that result here in Doha.

Seven times Olympian Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan is aiming at the vault final once again.

Martha Pihan-Kulesza is still competing for Poland and as a mom she is still capable of producing competative beam and floor performances.

Georgia-Rose Brown is Australia’s best hope for an all-around final.

Lara Mori was a floor finalist at last year's worlds and that could be Italy's best chance for a final in Doha.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by Christian Ivanov    Friday, 26 October 2018 21:23    PDF Print
China, Mikulak Shine as Men's Qualification Concludes
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

CHINA

Defending all-around champion Xiao Ruoteng posted the highest qualifying score in the all-around 87.332 to edge the leader from day one Nikita Nagornyy (Russia) 87.098.  Ruoteng led the team to a total of 257.836, which is the second best qualifying score to Russia’s 258.402.  He posted strong marks on all of the event and earned event finals on pommel horse and high bar.  China was particularly impressive on p-bars and high bar. Defending p-bars champion Zou Jingyuan dazzled with his incredible amplitude for the tops score of 15.8, while teammate Lin Chaopan earned the third highest mark of qualification there - 15.266.  Joining Xiao in the high bar final will be Deng Shudi, but it could have been Lin had he not taken a very big step on his double twisting double layout.  The team’s only major issues happened on pommel horse where both Zou and Lin had falls.   Sun Wei and Lin also posted the fifth and seventh best all-around scores.

JAPAN

Kenzo Shirai had a strong day hitting every routine and posting the sixth top all-around score.  The defending floor and vault champion tied Dalaloyan’s top floor score at 14.833, and also qualified to the vault final.  Kohei Uchimura competed three events only.   He posted the top qualifying score on high bar 14.6, but fell on pommels on his Tong Fei.  Japan had three falls on pommels and posted third best team score, more than four points lower than second place China.

UNITED STATES

Sam Mikulak hit six really good routines for an impressive 86.598, for third best in qualifying just behind Xiao and Nagornyy.  Mikulak’ strong performances earned him four individual event finals, which along with Nagornyy, is the most of any gymnast here in Doha.   Mikulak qualified 8th on floor, 5th on pommels, 6th on p-bars and 2nd on high bar.  “This is kind of what I was hoping would happen going into this competition.  I didn’t want to put too much pressure, too much stress, really just go out and hit routines, 6/6 was my goal.”  Yul Moldauer had a somewhat of an off day with issues on his pommel horse and high bar routines but still managed to qualify to floor and all-around finals.  “Today is not about being the best, you just want to qualify to team finals.  So I think as a team we did pretty well.  We got our nerves out”, he reflected after the meet.  The team suffered three major errors on pommels and qualified in fourth place with a 250.362.

GREAT BRITAIN

Olympic Champion Max Whitlock leads pommel horse qualifying with his massive 6.7 difficulty routine, which is one of the only two individual event finals for the team.  Dominic Cunningham also qualified for the vault final.  James Hall and Brinn Bevan both qualified to all-around final placing 9th and 13th, respectively.  The British team also qualified to the team final posting the fifth best score.

NOTABLE INDIVIDUALS

Ring men Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) and Arthur Zanetti (Brazil) qualified on the event first and second, respectively.

Armenian Artur Tovmasyan and Vahagn Davtyan qualified for the rings final.  Davtyan will also compete in the vault final where he posted the third best average.

Lee Chih Kai and Tang Chia-Hung from Chinese Taipei qualified for the pommel horse and high bar finals, respectively.

Ahmet Onder (Turkey) made the floor and all-around final.

Calvo Moreno (Colombia) qualified to p-bars final with the fourth highest score.

Cuba’s Manrique Larduet competed on three events only due to wrist and shoulder injuries.  Laduet fell on both p-bars and floor, and managed first reserve in the high bar final.

For full results, click here.

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Written by Christian Ivanov    Friday, 26 October 2018 00:00    PDF Print
World Preview: Men's Qualification Day 2

Day two of men’s qualifying features five really strong subdivisions.  The teams to watch with a realistic shot at a medal are China, Japan, United States and Great Britain.  The Chinese are perhaps the favorite to win with a team featuring four former World medalists, and the top two all-arounders from last year’s worlds Xiao Ruoteng and Lin Chaopan.  The Chinese can easily put two finalists in AA, PH, PB and HB.

Defending Champion Japan won’t be using Kohei Uchimura on floor and vault as the Japanese suffered a minor ankle injury a few weeks ago. Regardless, the team is still one of the favorites here in Doha.  Kenzo Shirai will be attempting to defend his titles on floor and vault from last year, and the rest of team is capable of several event finals.

The Unites States will be attempting to get back on the podium, and despite the fact they are behind in difficulty to the big three (Japan, China and Russian) their consistency could be the key to get there.   Team veteran Sam Mikulak is a legitimate contender in the all-around, which is probably USA’s best shot at a medal.

Great Britain is in a similar position as USA; they will need help from the top teams to be able to get on the podium.   Defending World and Olympic pommel horse champion Max Whitlock will be aiming for a three-peat on the event.

The five subdivisions of day-two are also packed with event specialist and potential finalists and medalists.  Here are the ones to watch:

Ferhat Arican (Turkey) – AA and PB (finalists in both from last year in Montreal)

Ibrahim Colak (Turkey) – SR (finalist in Montreal)

Ahmet Onder (Turkey) – AA (top 10 finish in Montreal)

Arthur Zanetti (Brazil) – SR (former World and Olympic champion)

Arthur Mariano (Brazil) – FX (bronze medalist at the Rio Olympics)

Lee Chih Kai (Chinese Taipei) – PH (recent Asian Games gold medalist)

Tang Chia-Hung (Chinese Taipei) – HB (recent Asian Games gold medalist)

Manrique Larduet (Cuba) – AA, PB, HB (silver medalist in the all-around in 2015 the Cuban is one of the favorites in the AA; PB finalist in Montreal; HB bronze medalist from Glasgow)

Tomas Gonzales (Chile) – FX (former world and Olympic finalist)

Rhys McClenaghan (Ireland) – PH (brings a lot of momentum into the competition as the European and the Commonwealth Games champion)

Jorge Vega Lopes – (Guatemala) – VT (finalist in Montreal)

Jossimar Calvo Moreno (Colombia) – AA, PB and HB (11th in the all-around in Montreal)

Harutyun Merdinyan (Armenia) – PH (bronze medalist from Glasgow 2015)

Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) – rings (defending champion attempting to three-peat; despite a shoulder injury still the favorite)

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by Christian Ivanov    Thursday, 25 October 2018 21:49    PDF Print
Russia Impresses on Day 1 of Men's Qualifying
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

RUSSIA

Competing in the very first subdivision the Russian team showed a real possibility of walking away with the team title in Doha.  The team posted 258.402 despite some errors on one of their strongest events pommel horse.  Nikita Nagornyy and Arthur Dalaloyan lead the all-around after day one with 87.098 and 84.572, respectively (fall on pommel horse by Dalaloyan).   The pair also posted the top two floor scores and the second and third highest vault scores of the day and should easily make the final on both events.  Dalaloyan and David Belyavskiy stand on second and third place on p-bars with 15.041 and 15.033, respectively.  “My main goal was to get in the final on floor, vault and all-around and I completed my goal for today, now the focus is on the team." - Nagornyy reflected after the competiton.

NETHERLANDS & SWITZERLAND

The Dutch team surprised with strong difficulty and good consistency and is currently in second place after Russia and ahead of Switzerland and Ukraine.  Epke Zonderland posted the highest score on high bar with a Cassina to Kovacs combo.  Teammate Bart Deurloo is currently in fourth with strong chances for the final as well.  The strong Swiss team had a disappointing day with multiple mistakes on vault, p-bars and high bar.  Both Pablo Bragger and Oliver Hegi erred on high bar, and, therefore, will not make the final there.

UKRAINE

Oleg Verniaiev was back to his best on p-bars posting the top score of the day 15.458.  He competed lower difficulty routines on high bar and rings, and had a fall on pommel horse.  He is currently in 7th place in the all-around with 80.522. “I will have to wait and see if I can make it (to the all around final).  But I would like to try, I will make the effort to compete the all-around.  I started training three months ago, and I’d say I am 30% ready.”  Teammate Igor Radivilov leads rings with 14.733 but fell on his first vault and didn’t compete a second.  The Ukrainians are in fourth place behind Switzerland.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

Carlos Yulo, just 18 years old, from the Philippines was the surprise of the day.  He is likely to make floor and vault finals and is in 5th in the all-around despite a fall on high bar.   Ri Se Gwang (North Korea) landed both of his Ri vaults and leads qualification on the event. Defending high bar champion Tin Srbic posted the second top score on the event behind Zonderland and should be back in the final. France’s Cyril Tommasone hit his trademark routine on pommels for second best score of the day 14.241, behind Nariman Kurbanov (Kazakhstan) who leads the event with a 14.466.   Nestor Abad from Spain totaled 81.507 for 4th highest all-around of the day.  The Spanish team is 5th just behind Ukraine.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
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