Big Names Expected in Baku

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We haven’t even gotten to the first world cup of the year yet, but the competitor list has been released for the second apparatus competition to be held in Baku, and it’s a fantastic one.

While Melbourne starts out a bit slow without many gymnasts on the list — thanks to both the early point in the season and the great geographical distance most competitors would have to travel in order to compete — Baku is a bit more exciting.

Veterans of multiple Olympic Games Catalina Ponor of Romania, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, and Vasiliki Millousi of Greece are only three of the highlights in the women’s field, which will also see the return of 2016 bronze medalist Shang Chunsong of China and 2016 Olympian Teja Belak, who won three world cup apparatus medals last year. 2016 Olympian Angelina Kysla is back as well after a phenomenal post-Olympic season, now competing under her married name Radivilova!

2012 Olympian Emily Little, who will return in Melbourne next week, is also on the roster alongside a strong team of Australian prospects, as are Marina Nekrasova of Azerbaijan — who missed out on qualifying to Rio by only one spot last year — and Diana Varinska of Ukraine, who is expected to make her senior debut in Baku.

For the men, it’ll be hometown hero Oleg Stepko in the spotlight. The two-time Olympian competed for Ukraine at the London Games, but changed his nationality a couple of years later to begin representing Azerbaijan, winning two medals for his adopted country at home in Baku at the European Games in 2015 before winning bronze on p-bars at worlds and placing 22nd in the all-around final in Rio.

At last year’s apparatus world cup in Baku, Stepko made four of the six finals and took home three medals, including the gold on p-bars, so this could be another incredibly exciting meet for the 22-year-old, who already has two Olympics under his belt but is still just getting started.

2016 Olympic rings champion Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece will compete on his gold-medal event, as will 2012 Olympic pommels champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary. The men’s roster also includes Olympians like Filip Ude of Croatia, Oskar Kirmes of Finland, Julien Gobaux and Cyril Tommasone of France, Alexander Shatilov of Israel, Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania, and Cristian Bataga and Vlad Cotuna of Romania.

The competition begins March 16. A full list of competitors is below.

AUSTRALIA
Clay Mason Stephens
Mitchell Morgans
Christopher Remkes
Michael Tone
Georgia-Rose Brown
Alexandra Eade
Naomi Lee
Emily Little
Emma Nedov
AZERBAIJAN
Murad Agharzayev
Timur Bairamov
Oleg Stepko
Yuliya Inshina
Marina Nekrasova
Mariia Smirnova
BELARUS
Pavel Bulauski
Ilya Yakauleu
CHINA
He Youxiao
Liu Rongbing
Weng Hao
Lu Yufei
Shang Chunsong
Wang Cenyu
CROATIA
Anton Kovacevic
Robert Seligman
Tin Srbic
Filip Ude
FINLAND
Juho Kanerva
Oskar Kirmes
Heikki Saarenketo
Tomi Tuuha
Sakari Vekki
Rosanna Ojala
FRANCE
Kevin Antoniotti
Edgar Boulet
Julien Gobaux
Cyril Tommasone
GEORGIA
Saba Abesadze
Dmitrii Govorov
Mariia Butskikh
GREECE
Georgios Chatziefstathiou
Nikolaos Iliopoulos
Konstantinos Konstantinidis
Dimitrios Markousis
Eleftherios Petrounias
Antonios Tantalidis
Argyro Afrati
Vasiliki Millousi
Evangelia Plyta
Ioanna Xoulogi
HUNGARY
Krisztian Berki
Zoltan Kallai
IRAN
Mahdi Ahmad Kohani
Abdollah Jamei
Saeedreza Keikha
Saman Madani
IRAQ
Yasir Al-Dulaimi
Ihsan Al-Khaboori
Ali Saadi Mohsin Al-Tameemi
IRELAND
Rhys McClenaghan
Andrew Smith
ISRAEL
Artem Dolgopyat
Eyal Glazer
Andrey Medvedev
Alexander Shatilov
Michael Sorokine
Moran Yanuka
Tzuf Feldon
Gaya Giladi
Ofir Kremer
JAPAN
Naoto Hayasaka
Shogo Nonomura
Kazuyuki Takeda
KAZAKHSTAN
Danil Baturin
Vyacheslav Kim
Azizbek Kudratullayev
Daulet Narmetov
LITHUANIA
Tomas Kuzmickas
Robert Tvorogal
ROMANIA
Cristian Bataga
Vlad Cotuna
Adelin Kotrong
Ioan Nistor
Alexandru Ursache
Ana Maria Ocolisan
Catalina Ponor
SLOVENIA
Saso Bertoncelj
Alen Dimic
Rok Klavora
Jure Pavlica
Ziga Silc
Teja Belak
Lucija Hribar
Ivana Kamnikar
Tjasa Kysselef
SPAIN
Pol Diaz
Andres Martin
Rayderley Zapata
TURKEY
Mustafa Arca
Sercan Demir
Ahmet Onder
Umit Samiloglu
Ilkay Uguz
Hamza Yilmaz
Doga Ketenci
Ekin Morova
Demet Mutlu
Goksu Uctas Sanli
UKRAINE
Oleksandr Petrenko
Yevgen Yudenkov
Angelina Radivilova
Diana Varinska
UZBEKISTAN
Abdulla Azimov
Timur Kadirov
Eduard Shaulov
Oksana Chusovitina
Khilola Doniyorova
Ominakhon Khalilova

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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8 thoughts on “Big Names Expected in Baku

  1. Where did Naomi Lee suddenly come from? I was wondering when I saw the start list for Melbourne. There is no information on her on the Australian gymnastics website.

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    • Yeah, I think they’ve been sending her specifically for vault to these world cups, where it should be relatively easy for her to make finals and medal…I love that Australia is getting way more active with these meets in sending lots of names!

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