Kohei Uchimura of Japan laughing at everyone who got their hopes up for the worlds all-around title this year
After getting injured during qualifications at world championships last year, Kohei Uchimura will be back in action at the Doha World Cup beginning tomorrow.
The two-time Olympic all-around champ will compete on every event but floor here, and for some, he’ll be up against the man who took over his world champion throne — Xiao Ruoteng of China — on pommels, p-bars, and high bar, with Xiao expected to be especially strong competition on pommels after winning the bronze in Montreal.
China is also sending 2016 Olympic p-bars finalist Deng Shudi, his teammate and rings finalist Liu Yang, and 2017 world p-bars champ Zou Jingyuan, while Japan will see 2016 Olympian Ryohei Kato, also a standout on p-bars, as well as Yuya Kamoto and Takumi Sato, both of whom are pretty much B-team for Japan, but they’ll still have a shot at medals because as we all know, Japanese B-team is basically anyone else’s A-team.
Overall the men’s field is a super strong one, mostly because with world championships being held in Doha at the same arena six months from now, this competition will serve as a kind of test event, giving the gymnasts the chance to get used to the environment before returning for the big titles this fall.
In addition to the Chinese and Japanese, we’re also excited to see Andreas Bretschneider of Germany, Lee Chih Kai of Chinese Taipei, the U.S. boys Marvin Kimble and Alec Yoder, with Yoder making his senior international debut here, Igor Radivilov of Ukraine, Tomas Gonzalez of Chile, 2017 world high bar champion Tin Srbic of Croatia, 2016 Olympic vault champion Ri Se Gwang of North Korea, Ferhat Arican and Ibrahim Colak of Turkey, and Carlos Edriel Yulo of the Philippines, who at 18 has medaled on vault at both world cups so far in 2018, so it’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up next to stronger competition.
The women’s side will also have more depth than this year’s previous world cups have seen, with several standout competitors expected, including 2017 world bars bronze medalist Nina Derwael of Belgium, who is crushing it in competition so far this season and is likely to take the gold here. Her biggest competition will come from Ukraine’s Diana Varinska, and we’re also likely to see strong bars work from French gymnasts Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos and Louise Vanhille, both of whom would be in strong contention for medals.
I’m also looking forward to seeing 2016 Olympian Yuki Uchiyama of Japan on this event as well as Hungary’s Nora Feher in her senior debut. Russia will also have Uliana Perebinosova hoping for a medal here, and though she’s been pretty hit-or-miss on this event in the past year or so, a good day for her could definitely make her able to challenge.
Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, coming off of a gold-medal weekend at Baku, will be the one to beat on vault, though if China’s Liu Jinru is at full difficulty she’ll definitely have some competition for the top podium spot, with 2017 European medalists Coline Devillard of France and Boglarka Devai of Hungary, last week’s silver medalist in Baku Marina Nekrasova of Azerbaijan, and Slovenia’s Tjasa Kysselef and Teja Belak, who have medaled at a billion world cups apiece, waiting in the wings.
I’m excited to see how the Italians Lara Mori and Elisa Meneghini fare on beam and floor, Marine Boyer of France will be tough to beat on beam given how strong she has looked at recent domestic competitions, Ana Derek of Croatia is sure to be top competition on floor after winning gold at Baku with the best routine of her career, both Axelle Klinckaert and Rune Hermans of Belgium will also be treats to watch on floor, Rifda Irfanaluthfi of Indonesia will be one to watch for her unique and powerful performance on floor especially, Eleonora Afanasyeva of Russia is also super strong on that event, and I always love watching Aneta Holasova of the Czech Republic on both.
After an injury last year, Caitlin Rooskrantz of South Africa didn’t have quite the debut she’d hoped for, but she’ll be back here for the first time in nearly a year and we’re super excited to see how it goes, while Kim Su Jong of North Korea jumped on our radar with her adorable and charming performances at the Asian Championships, so we hope to see her at top form here, and new senior Taeja James of Great Britain will make her senior international debut here, where she’ll hopefully show some improvement after a weak start domestically.
Last but not least are the Romanians, Maria Holbura and Anamaria Ocolisan. Both survived the tumultuous end to the 2016 quad, and will continue competing for Romania with the hopes of helping to bring the team back on track. Ocolisan, injured going into 2015 worlds, hasn’t been quite the same since then, but now 20 years old (HOW?!) she’ll bring a bit more maturity and hopefully confidence and consistency to her performances, while Holbura competed regularly last year but not at a level that was strong enough to get her a worlds spot. Hopefully now that they’re basically leading the senior team we’ll see them grow into their roles as two of the country’s strongest gymnasts, especially with the team competition on the line at worlds this year.
The competition kicks off with qualifications tomorrow and Thursday, and finals will be held on Friday and Saturday. A full list of competitors is below.
Ahmed Anis Maoudj
|Hsu Ping Chien
Lee Chih Kai
Tseng Wei Sheng
Fang Ko Ching
Lai Pin Ju
Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos
|Chan Cheuk Lam|
Novia Nabila Putri
|Ahmad Abu Al Soud
|Loo Phay Xing
Tan Fu Jie
|Han Jong Hyok
Ri Kwang Mo
Ri Se Gwang
|Kim Su Jong
Pyon Rye Yong
Ri Su Ryon
John Matthew Vergara
Carlos Edriel Yulo
|Ahmed Mosa||Jana El Keky|
Hoe Wah Toon
Lincoln Liqht Man
Yeo Xong Sean
Nadine Joy Nathan
Göksu Üctas Sanli
|Igor Radivilov||Diana Varinska|
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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