The Doha roster is here and yes, there are several big names on it, but these are names we’re used to, and gymnasts we’ve seen around for years.
What I’m most excited about are the new names on this list, several seniors who all have the potential to make a major impact in their countries. This world cup, the third of the year, will see the senior debuts of Adela and Vendula Merkova of the Czech Republic, Lynn Genhart and Livia Schmid of Switzerland, and Olivia Cimpian of Romania.
The Merkova twins are part of a training group at Bohemians in Prague that will revolutionize the Czech team this quad. At Euros last year, the juniors reached a team score that shattered the 2014 worlds team’s numbers and would’ve put them in contention for a full team spot at the following year’s worlds. Both of the Merkovas spent last fall fine-tuning routines to get ready for their senior debuts and working on the artistry and other individual strengths that make them stand out so much internationally.
As for the Swiss gymnasts, both Schmid and Genhart will similarly help their country rise as a team this quad. At Euros last year, the Swiss juniors defeated many historically stronger programs to finish sixth as a team, while Schmid made the vault final and Genhart won silver in the all-around, a truly phenomenal and surprising podium finish at home in Bern. The two are kind of opposites, with Schmid strong on the leg events while Genhart shines on bars and beam, so they’ll complement each other well in the coming years, and should be able to help veteran teammate Giulia Steingruber bring the team to new heights in the next four years as they work towards qualifying a full team to Tokyo.
As for Cimpian, last year’s Romanian junior champion, she’ll compete in Doha alongside Catalina Ponor, who is nearly twice her age. As a now three-time Olympian, Ponor is exactly the kind of teammate you want around showing you the ropes as you make your senior debut. Cimpian can sometimes be a nervous competitor, so it’s great that the Romanian program will ease her into her senior career at a more low-key world cup than tossing her to the wolves at Europeans on her home turf this April. When she does get her footing as a competitor, she’ll help the Romanian team so much.
In addition to some of our favorite new seniors, we’ll also see the little Chinese mix of Wang Yan, Luo Huan, and Liu Tingting again after they made impressive debuts in Melbourne this week, and they’ll be joined by an Australian contingent featuring Emily Little, Rianna Mizzen, Georgia-Rose Brown, and Emma Nedov, a core group of girls making the world cup rounds as they hope to bring their program back to a top level.
Two-time Olympian Dorina Böczögö and her Hungarian teammate, 2016 Olympian Zsofia Kovacs, will also compete here, as will the 2016 Olympian Ana Derek, and Slovenian world cup regulars Tjasa Kysselef, Ivana Kamnikar, and 2016 Olympian Teja Belak.
Last but certainly not least for the women is Oksana Chusovitina, still kicking around for Uzbekistan at 41 because why not?
On the men’s side we’ll get 2012 Olympic pommel horse champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary in addition to tons and tons of 2016 Olympians, including Artur Davtyan of Armenia, Mohamed Bourguieg of Algeria, Oleg Stepko of Azerbaijan, Dennis Goossens of Belgium, Filip Ude of Croatia, Marios Georgiou of Cyprus, Oskar Kirmes of Finland, Marcel Nguyen of Germany, Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania, Marian Dragulescu of Romania, Christian Baumann, Pablo Brägger, and Benjamin Gischard of Switzerland, Ferhat Arican of Turkey, Igor Radivilov of Ukraine, and Pham Phuoc Hung of Vietnam.
The competition begins March 22. A full list of competitors is below.
|Clay Mason Stephens
|Ahmad Abu Al Soud
|Marian Dragulescu||Olivia Cimpian
|Abdullah Khalid Al-Boussi
Ali Ibrahim Al-Mobireek
Jaffar Saleh Al-Sayigh
Göksu Üctas Sanli
Dinh Phuong Thanh
Le Thanh Tung
Pham Phuoc Hung
Article by Lauren Hopkins