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Written by Christian Ivanov    Wednesday, 24 October 2018 21:35    PDF Print
World Preview: Men's Qualification Day 1
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The 2018 World Championships in Doha begins on Thursday with five of the ten subdivisions of the men’s qualifications.

Subdivision one will feature the strong team of Russia, which will be contending for its first ever team gold medal here in Doha. David Belyavskiy is one of the contenders in the all-around. The Russian, silver and bronze medalist from last year’s worlds, had a shot at the gold in Montreal but a fall on his last event pushed him to fourth place. The Russian team is packed with high level routines and can make multiple event finals on several of the events.

Subdivision one will also feature France, which after making the podium at this year’s European Championships should make the team final here. Cyril Tommasone will contend for another pommel horse final. In the same session Romanian veteran Marian Dragulescu will be aiming for another floor and vault final.

Subdivision two will feature all three high bar medalists from last year’s worlds, defending champion Tim Srbic from Croatia, and Epke Zonderland and Bart Deurloo from the Netherlands. All three of them should easily make the high bar final if they hit. Croatia’s Filip Ude and Robert Seligman are both strong candidates for the pommel horse final.

Subdivision three will feature the return of World and Olympic vault champion Ri Se Gwang (North Korea) who was absent from last year’s worlds. Ri should easily make the final if he puts both vaults to his feet. Israeli Alexander Shatilov and Artem Dolgopyat, both have strong chances to make the floor final. Dolgopyat who is capable of a triple back and quad twist was second on the event at last year’s worlds. The subdivision also features two of the best high bar workers in the world, Pablo Bragger and Oliver Hegi from Switzerland, both owners of European high bar titles. The Swiss team also has a shot at a team final depending on how their competition goes.

The last session for the day, subdivision five, will feature Ukraine. The team will be enjoying the return of their super star Oleg Verniaiev who is making his comeback from ankle and shoulder surgeries. Verniaiev didn’t train on rings during the podium training and his all-around is questionable. But he still has strong potential for a medal on p-bars and could be a finalist on pommel horse. His teammate Igor Radivilov should make both rings and vault finals if his day goes well. With a good competition the Ukrainian team could potentially make top 8 and the team final.


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Written by Christian Ivanov    Monday, 22 October 2018 19:12    PDF Print
The Gymnastics World Sets Sight on Doha
(6 votes, average 4.50 out of 5)

The world gymnastics community turns sight to Doha, Qatar where for the next two weeks (October 25th – November 3rd) the Doha Aspire Dome will be the host of the 48th World Championships, the first one ever to be held in the Middle East. IG will be onsite to provide detailed coverage of the event. Here are some important facts in regard to the event:

· The nominative roster released by FIG includes over 500 male and female gymnasts from 78 countries.

· The medal winning nations in the team finals for both men and women will earn automatic berth to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (for detailed qualification procedure to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, click here), while the top 24 nations from team qualification will advance full teams to the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

· All delegations have arrived in Doha and have begun their training; in fact, the men have already completed their 10 subdivisions of podium training.

· The 11 subdivisions of the women’s podium training will be held October 23rd and 24th and IG will provide detailed coverage of each one of them.  For detailed schedule of the competition check below.

· On the women’s side the United States is the defending world and Olympic champion and with the return of Simone Biles, who took a year off after the Rio Olympics, is expected to easily retain its title. Biles is the overwhelming favorite to win the all-around title, and could win several additional gold medals on the individual events. Russia and China are the next strongest contenders for the podium, but will face a challenging opposition from the much-improved teams from Japan and perhaps Canada, France and Brazil.

· On the men’s side Japan is the defending world and Olympic champion, but unlike the US women they will face a fierce competition primarily in the face of China and Russia.

· After the ankle injury sustained in qualifications on vault at last year’s worlds, Japan’s Kohei Uchimura is back. The six-time world all-around champion and two-time defending Olympic all-around champion sustained another less severe ankle injury a few weeks ago, and with the conclusion of the team’s podium training here in Doha, it appears that Uchimura will not be competing on floor and vault, and, therefore, missing the all-around.

· Both defending all-around champions from last year Morgan Hurd (United States) and Xiao Ruoteng (China) are expected to compete in the all-around with a shot at defending their titles.

· Russian star Aliya Mustafina returns to competition after giving birth to a baby girl in the summer of 2017. Mustafina is expected to compete UB and BB only.

· After a shoulder and an ankle surgery late last year Oleg Verniaiev is back to competing for Ukraine. Verniaiev didn’t train on rings during podium’s training; therefore, it is questionable if he will compete in the all-around or not.

· On the men’s side all six defending individual event champions from last year are entered in the competition: Kenzo Shirai (Japan) FX and VT, Max Whitlock (Great Britain) PH, Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) SR, Zou Jingyuan (China) PB and Tin Srbic (Croatia) HB.  On the women’s side Mai Murakami (Japan) is the sole defending champion who won the floor title in Montreal a year ago.

· Competition schedule listed below:


October 25


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 1: (9-11am/2-4am ET)

Floor Exercise: MxG7 (Peru, Monaco)

Pommel Horse: MxG4 (Singapore)

Still Rings: Uzbekistan

Vault: Russia

Parallel Bars: Romania

High Bar: France


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 2: (11:30-1:30pm/4:30-6:30am ET)

Floor Exercise: Finland

Pommel Horse: Belarus

Still Rings: Netherlands

Vault: Belgium

Parallel Bars: Austria

High Bar: Croatia


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 3: (2:30-4:30pm/7:30-9:30am ET)

Floor Exercise: MxG9 (Lithuania, Dominican Republic)

Pommel Horse: Norway

Still Rings: North Korea

Vault: MxG15 (Jordan, Slovakia)

Parallel Bars: Israel

High Bar: Switzerland


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 4: (5-7pm/10-12pm ET)

Floor Exercise: MxG3 (Iceland, Philippines)

Pommel Horse: Jamaica

Still Rings: Czech Republic

Vault: Kazakhstan

Parallel Bars: Bulgaria

High Bar: Azerbaijan


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 5: (7:30-9:30pm/1-3pm ET)

Floor Exercise: Spain

Pommel Horse: New Zealand

Still Rings: Sweden

Vault: MxG6 (Poland, Qatar)

Parallel Bars: Ukraine

High Bar: Canada


October 26


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 6: (9-11am/2-4am ET)

Floor Exercise: MxG12 (Thailand, Malaysia)

Pommel Horse: Colombia

Still Rings: Japan

Vault: United States

Parallel Bars: Serbia

High Bar: Armenia


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 7: (11:30-1:30pm/4:30-6:30am ET)

Floor Exercise: Turkey

Pommel Horse: Australia

Still Rings: Mexico

Vault: Chinese Taipei

Parallel Bars: MxG2 (Cuba, Chile)

High Bar: MxG11 (Ireland, Guatemala)


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 8: (2:30-4:30pm/7:30-9:30am ET)

Floor Exercise: MxG13 (Iraq, Trinidad and Tobago)

Pommel Horse: Germany

Still Rings: Greece

Vault: Georgia

Parallel Bars: MxG8 (Slovenia, Ecuador)

High Bar: Korea


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 9: (5-7pm/10-12pm ET)

Floor Exercise: Great Britain

Pommel Horse: Italy

Still Rings: Vietnam

Vault: MxG1 (India, Venezuela)

Parallel Bars: MxG14 (Denmark)

High Bar: Cyprus


Men’s Qualification, Subdivision 10: (7:30-9:30pm/1-3pm ET)

Floor Exercise: MxG10 (Portugal)

Pommel Horse: Brazil

Still Rings: Argentina

Vault: China

Parallel Bars: MxG5 (Hong Kong, Syria)

High Bar: Hungary


October 27


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 1: (9-10:30am/2-3:30am ET)

Bye: Argentina

Vault: MxG12 (Latvia, Jordan)

Uneven Bars: Poland

Balance Beam: MxG5 (Algeria, Philippines, Guatemala)

Floor Exercise: Belgium


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 2: (11-12:30pm/4-5:30am ET)

Bye: MxG6 (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan)

Vault: Japan

Uneven Bars: Korea

Balance Beam: Cost Rica

Floor Exercise: Australia


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 3: (1:30-3pm/6:30-8am ET)

Bye: North Korea

Vault: Ukraine

Uneven Bars: Germany

Balance Beam: Portugal

Floor Exercise: Hungary


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 4: (3:30-5pm/8:30-10am ET)

Bye: Netherlands

Vault: Austria

Uneven Bars: MxG9 (Sweden, Israel)

Balance Beam: MxG11 (Belarus, Qatar)

Floor Exercise: Colombia


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 5: (6-7:30pm/11-12:30pm ET)

Bye: New Zealand

Vault: MxG1 (Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Ireland)

Uneven Bars: United States

Balance Beam: MxG3 (Peru, Cyprus, Chile)

Floor Exercise: Slovakia


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 6: (8-9:30pm/1-2:30pm ET)

Bye: Italy

Vault: Iceland

Uneven Bars: Norway

Balance Beam: Jamaica

Floor Exercise: MxG10 (Vietnam, Cayman Islands, Bolivia)


October 28


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 7: (9:30-11am/2:30-4am ET)

Bye: MxG7 (Venezuela, Dominican Republic)

Vault: South Africa

Uneven Bars: Finland

Balance Beam: Romania

Floor Exercise: China


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 8: (11:30-1pm/4:30-6am ET)

Bye: Bulgaria

Vault: MxG13 (Singapore, Indonesia)

Uneven Bars: Canada

Balance Beam: MxG8 (Malaysia, Hong Kong)

Floor Exercise: France


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 9: (2-3:30pm/7-8:30am ET)

Bye: Great Britain

Vault: Brazil

Uneven Bars: Turkey

Balance Beam: Denmark

Floor Exercise: Russia


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 10: (4-5:30pm/9-10:30am ET)

Bye: Spain

Vault: Mexico

Uneven Bars: Switzerland

Balance Beam: MxG4 (Serbia, Syria)

Floor Exercise: Egypt


Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 11: (6:30-8pm/11:30-1pm ET)

Bye: MxG2 (India, Croatia, Georgia)

Vault: Slovenia

Uneven Bars: Chinese Taipei

Balance Beam: Greece

Floor Exercise: Czech Republic


October 29

Men’s Team Final: (4-7pm/9-12pm ET)


October 30

Women’s Team Final: (4-6pm/9-11am ET)


October 31

Men’s All-Around Final: (4-7pm/9-12pm ET)


November 1

Women’s All-Around Final (4-6pm/9-11am ET)


November 2

Event Finals Day 1 (4-7:30pm/9am-12:30pm ET)


November 3

Event Finals Day 2 (4-7:30pm/9am-12:30pm ET)


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

Written by dwight normile    Monday, 22 October 2018 07:27    PDF Print
Ms. Consistency: Riley McCusker Is Some Kind Of Gymnast!
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Riley McCusker placed third all-around at the last two U.S. Championships, and she placed second all-around as a junior in 2016.

“Consistency is one of my goals,” says McCusker, who is coached by Maggie Haney and Victoria Levine at Monmouth Gymnastics (MG Elite) in Morganville, New Jersey.

“I think what’s so special about her is her look,” Haney says. “It’s definitely different and stands out. I think she has amazing flexibility and amazing lines on bars, and even on beam and floor.”

You would think Haney would like to create a floor routine for such a gorgeous dancer. Not so. [Haney laughs] “You would think I would be but choreography stresses me out a lot,” Haney says. “I actually don’t enjoy it because I guess I feel like the expectations are so high. I guess my kids are known for their choreography, which is a major compliment, but I would be lying if I said I’ve enjoyed it. I really don’t … I don’t have background in dance at all.”

Asked about her favorite social media platform, Riley says she uses “Snapchat like every day [giggles] … and I use Instagram a lot, too.”

Yes indeed, Riley McCusker is some kind of gymnast!

Read the whole story in the November 2018 issue.

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

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 15 October 2018 09:03    PDF Print
'Artistry, Lines, Execution' Are Fenton's Best Assets For Worlds
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

British gymnast Georgia-Mae Fenton told IG she believes her team has at least “an outside chance” to repeat as medalists at the 2018 World Championships which will begin October 25 in Doha, Qatar.

“It really depends,” said Fenton, who will turn 18 on November 2. “Team finals are so unpredictable. Anything can happen, and there are so many strong teams in the world right now. But I feel if we all do our very best performances we can finish in the top five, and maybe have an outside chance of a medal.”

At the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, the British women won bronze in the team final. No team competition took place at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal.

Becky Downie, Ellie Downie, Alice Kinsella and Kelly Simm have also been named to the British team that will compete in Doha.

Fenton said the British women have recently focused on consistency on balance beam, the apparatus on which the team made several errors at this summer’s European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

“We’ve been doing a lot more numbers, a lot more routines,” she said. “We’ve been doing a lot more pressure sets. We do this thing called Beam Team, where we’ve all got to go straight into our beam routine and try and go through it cleanly, all to try and improve our performances on beam in Doha.”

Fenton said her personal hope is to advance to the apparatus final on uneven bars, after placing 10th in qualifications and serving as first reserve for the final in Montreal.

“I would obviously love to make the bars final, because that’s my best piece and that’s really what I’m aiming for,” said Fenton, who placed first on uneven bars at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April. “I have upgraded my routine. I did try the routine at Europeans, but it didn’t quite go to plan. So again, I’ve just been doing more numbers, and more routines to try and get more consistency under my belt. Hopefully I can perform it well at Worlds.”

Fenton, who placed second on balance beam at the 2017 Challenge Cup of Varna and eighth on floor exercise at the 2018 Europeans, said she can contribute her own mix of assets to the British team’s potential success in Doha.

“I feel like I bring some artistry to the team,” she told IG. “I’m not as powerful as some, but I bring some elegance, good lines and good execution.”

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of the British women’s team for Doha includes:

Becky Downie cover photo and interview (June 2014)

Ellie Downie cover photo (May 2017)

"A Sorority of Success" - Becky Downie/Ellie Downie interviews (June 2014)

"British Breakouts" - interview with Alice Kinsella (December 2016)

“Great Brits” - Kelly Simm interview (May 2018)

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

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 08 October 2018 07:18    PDF Print
Van Wicklen On Worlds Debut: 'This Is My Time To Prove It'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Colin Van Wicklen, Akash Modi and Alec Yoder had never been to a World Championships, but they were selected at a training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, later this month. Sam Mikulak and Yul Moldaur, Van Wicklen's former teammat at Oklahoma, will be their teammates in Doha. Van Wicklen told IG that he and his teammates are primed for medal-winning performances. “I thrive on big moments,” said Van Wicklen, who placed eighth all-around, third on vault and third on high bar at the U.S. Championships in Boston in August. “I dream of high-pressure situations because that is where the competitor in me comes out. I was born for this team, this competition and this moment. I'm ready.”

Van Wicklen, who turned 23 on September 22, said he is equally eager to hit the Doha podium with the rest of the U.S. team. The team has the physical and emotional cohesiveness needed to challenge the world’s best, he said.

“We are the underdogs, with a lot to prove,” Van Wicklen said. “This is a young team with tons of experience competing in the NCAA. We know what it means and feels like to be a part of a team. If we can go out and hit 100 percent, we are going to put pressure on a lot of teams. And when pressure is applied, anything can happen. This team has heart. Each and every one of us fully believes that we can win a medal. And that belief can take you a long way.”

The U.S. men’s team finished third at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, fifth at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow and fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Mikulak is the only member of any of those three U.S. teams slated for Doha; he competed in Nanning and Rio.

No team competition took place at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal, where Van Wicklen was an alternate for the U.S. team.

Van Wicklen said the U.S. squad for Doha includes a formidable mix of all-arounders and gymnasts whose best apparatuses should assure an optimal team total.

“With Yul and Sam, we have two of the best all-around gymnasts in the world,” Van Wicklen said. “Both have the potential to win an individual all-around medal. Akash, Alec and I are strong all-around gymnasts, but will be used on our strongest events to provide the highest team score possible. Every guy brings something special, and that is what makes a team competition so incredible to watch and be a part of.”

Van Wicklen said he is content to perform where and as needed in Doha.

“I believe that while I am an all-arounder, I will be used on my strong events,” he said. “I am looking forward to bringing solid scores on floor, vault and high bar to help the team as much as I can. I am also excited about potentially competing on rings for Team USA in prelims and hopefully the team final.”

With team success a priority, Van Wicklen is also keen to achieve at least one personal objective in Doha.

“My main goal is to win a team medal and make a statement to the rest of the world that this U.S. team is for real,” he told IG. “Another big goal I have is to get into the vault final and win a medal. I firmly believe that I challenge for a position as one of the top vaulters in the world and this is my time to prove it.”

IG will be on hand in Doha, where competition begins October 25 with men’s qualifications.

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


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