The nominative roster for the Cottbus World Cup, first up in the next cycle of the FIG’s apparatus world cup series, is out, and even though many top athletes are taking it slow on a post-worlds hiatus, the host country has a star-studded roster that should take a number of the medals at this competition.
Two members of the 2016 Olympic team, including 2017 world beam champion Pauline Schäfer and bars finalist Elisabeth Seitz, will highlight the women’s team for Germany, which also includes Michelle Timm and Carina Kröll, both of whom have medaled at the world cups with Kröll the reigning Cottbus floor champion.
This group has the potential to take home a medal on each event, with Timm a standout on vault, Seitz on bars, Schäfer on beam, and Kröll on floor. And on the men’s side, we’ll see stars Andreas Bretschneider back on high bar and Marcel Nguyen on p-bars alongside their 2016 Olympic teammate Andreas Toba with Lucas Herrman, Felix Remuta, and Ivan Rittschik also competing.
2016 Olympic beam champion Sanne Wevers is back for more after her disappointing worlds, seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina will return to her adopted country to fight for the vault gold after winning two world cup vault titles earlier this year, and Olympian Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska of Poland will hope to challenge on beam in her first international competition since Rio. I’m also excited to see how her teammate, Gabriela Janik, will look. Janik swept Polish Championships this year and has done a fantastic job in several vault finals this year.
Other Rio Olympians who will compete here include Canada’s Rose-Kaying Woo, Iceland’s Irina Sazonova, Slovakia’s Barbora Mokosova, and Ukraine’s Angelina Radivilova. Bars is a standout event for most of these, though I’m hoping Mokosova ends up finally getting a medal after coming close at many meets this year.
The Russians are bringing a B team, but it’s a fabulous beam team. Hooray for depth! Maria Kharenkova, who had an incredible meet at the Russian Cup in August, could medal on beam and floor, Lilia Akhaimova is challenging on vault and floor, Uliana Perebinosova is back and hoping to win the bars title, and I’m thrilled to see Eleonora Afanasyeva — née Goryunova, once a top junior who didn’t quite have things pan out at the senior level until she came back this year — get an international assignment.
China also has a B team, featuring Liu Jinru, Lu Yufei, Lyu Jiaqi, and Wang Cenyu. Liu is coming in with the highest vault difficulty in the world, and could absolutely take the gold on that event here, while Wang and Lyu could make waves on bars, and Lu will hope to impress on beam and floor.
Romania’s team looks like a B team, but with Larisa Iordache currently out with an injury and Catalina Ponor retiring, the three here are actually the country’s current best. Ioana Crisan, who earned the second reserve all-around at worlds and got the chance to compete in the final after Ragan Smith withdrew last-minute, 2015 worlds team member Laura Jurca, and 2016 test event team member Maria Holbura are all on the roster, and while none of them is super strong on any event, they all have a shot at making it into finals.
One of the biggest talents competing here is actually the Ukrainian gymnast Diana Varinska, who finished sixth on bars at world championships. With a hit routine, Varinska could definitely walk away with gold here, and she also has lovely ability on beam and floor when she hits.
Others to watch include the Australians, Georgia-Rose Brown and Emily Whitehead, the British girls Maisie Methuen and Kelly Simm, neither of whom has been out and about much this year so it’ll be interesting to see how they look, and Slovenia’s Tjasa Kysselef, who could medal on vault, and Lucija Hribar, who had a fantastic competition at worlds.
We’ll also get to see Sophie Marois of Canada, Thelma Adalsteinsdottir, Sigridur Bergthorsdottir, and Agnes Suto-Tuuha of Iceland, Kirsten Polderman of the Netherlands, Patrycja Dronia of Poland, Laura Bechdeju and Nora Fernandez of Spain, and Jessica Diacci and Stefanie Siegenthaler of Switzerland.
On the men’s side, Russia, China, and the United States will send B teams made up of the guys who would have been second options for worlds, but Japan is sending a little bit of both, with high bar superstar Hidetaka Miyachi the biggest draw. We’ll also get Bram Verhofstad of the Netherlands fighting for the gold on floor, Christopher Remkes of Australia wanting to take the title on vault, and Ukrainian superstars Oleg Verniaiev and Igor Radivilov, both of whom medaled at worlds.
The competition begins November 23. A full list of competitors is below.
|Samuel Paquin||Sophie Marois
|Chen Chih Yu
Tseng Wei Sheng
Yu Chao Wei
|Boudewijn de Vries
|Slavomir Michnak||Barbora Mokosova|
Mohamed Aziz Trabelsi
Colin Van Wicklen
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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