Jade Carey of the United States
After three teams earned Olympic Games spots at worlds last month – the United States, Russia, and China on the women’s side and China, Russia, and Japan for the men – the Olympic qualification process continues with the specialists now getting their first shots at the Cottbus World Cup this weekend.
The competition is one of eight apparatus world cups that will offer gymnasts the chance to qualify nominative individual spots for Tokyo, with the overall ranking at the end of the two-year series determining the gymnasts who will advance. Gymnasts must attend at least three of the eight world cups in order to be ranked, and the highest-ranked athlete on each apparatus when the series concludes at the Doha World Cup in 2020 will qualify.
In the past, these apparatus world cups have attracted gymnasts looking to get experience and prepare for bigger upcoming events, as well as a way for gymnasts who stand out on certain events to pick up prize money. But now that they’re also being used as Olympic qualifiers, the fields are getting deeper and more competitive, so look forward to this and all future world cups to heat up as some of the world’s best gymnasts begin attending in the hopes of making it to Tokyo.
The United States pretty much never sends women to these apparatus world cups, for example, but this year, Jade Carey will make her world cup debut, competing all four events with the hopes of ranking first on one of her best events – vault and floor – when the series ends in 2020. As the 2017 world silver medalist on both events, she comes into this competition as a frontrunner for a nominative spot, which would guarantee her the chance to compete in Tokyo.
Several other world-class gymnasts will also hope to achieve the same outcome, with the bars field looking especially tough with 2018 world champion Nina Derwael of Belgium, two-time world champion Fan Yilin of China, 2015 world champion Daria Spiridonova of Russia, 2018 world medalist Elisabeth Seitz of Germany, 2011 European medalist Kim Bui of Germany, two-time European champion Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden, 2017 world finalist Diana Varinska, and 2018 European finalist Juliette Bossu of France all in the mix this weekend.
Vault is also shaping up to be a very strong final. In addition to Carey, Mexico’s first-ever women’s world medalist Alexa Moreno is in Cottbus and could actually give Carey a run for her money, and legend Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, who won the Baku and Doha World Cup titles earlier this season, will also hope to threaten for the gold. India’s Dipa Karmakar is also fighting for a podium spot, as are Slovenia’s vaulters Teja Belak and Tjasa Kysselef, and Lilia Akhaimova of Russia, who just missed out on making the final at worlds, should also be solidly in the mix.
We’re also excited to see the Brazilians here after they looked so strong in Doha, with Rebeca Andrade, Jade Barbosa, and Flavia Saraiva all capable of making finals, and Axelle Klinckaert of Belgium should be one to watch on floor. Marine Boyer of France is hoping to pick up a medal on beam, Great Britain is hoping for a couple of finals from Georgia-Mae Fenton and Kelly Simm, both of whom could fit into the busy bars final with hit routines, Lara Mori of Italy should be a standout on floor, and Denisa Golgota of Romania is expected to compete all four events, with floor likely to be her strongest.
In addition to Seitz and Bui, the Germans are also sending Sophie Scheder, Pauline Schäfer, Leah Griesser, Sarah Voss, and Michelle Timm. Due to the rule that allows for only two gymnasts per country in qualifications, Scheder – who is still coming back from injury and isn’t quite at full strength on the event for which she won an Olympic bronze – will only compete beam, as will Pauline Schäfer, who missed worlds due to a foot injury. Voss and Timm will contend on vault, and Griesser will join Bui on floor.
Several of the world’s best male gymnasts were left off of top teams in Doha this year so they could contend for Olympic spots as individuals, including pommels king Weng Hao and rings master Liu Yang of China, both of whom could easily top the charts for the specialists here on these events, while Denis Abliazin of Russia should be a major threat on rings and vault, and Japan will see Hidenobu Yonekura and Hidetaka Miyachi try to top the charts on vault and high bar, respectively.
Other big names to watch in the men’s field include Harutyun Merdinyan of Armenia on pommels, his teammates Artur Tovmasyan and Vahagn Davtyan on rings with Artur Davtyan competing all events but rings (vault will be a big one for him), Christopher Remkes of Australia on floor and vault, Tomas Gonzalez of Chile on floor, Jossimar Calvo of Colombia on p-bars, Robert Seligman and Filip Ude of Croatia on pommels, their teammate Tin Srbic on high bar, Rayderley Zapata of Spain on floor, Ali Zahran of Egypt on rings, Loris Frasca of France on floor and vault, Cyril Tommasone of France on pommels, Samir Ait Said of France on rings, Max Whitlock of Great Britain on floor and pommels, his teammate Courtney Tulloch on rings and vault, Jorge Vega of Guatemala on floor and vault, David Vecsernyes of Hungary on high bar, Saeedreza Keikha of Iran on pommels, the Israeli gymnasts Alexander Shatilov and Artem Dolgopyat on floor, Marco Lodadio of Italy on rings, Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan on floor, his teammate Nariman Kurbanov on pommels, Epke Zonderland and Bart Deurloo of the Netherlands on high bar, their teammates Bram Verhofstad and Casimir Schmidt on floor, Carlos Edriel Yulo of the Philippines on floor and vault, Rok Klavora of Slovenia on floor, his teammate Saso Bertoncelj on pommels, Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei on pommels, his teammate Tang Chia-Hung on high bar, the Turkish team bringing several guys – Ahmet Önder, Ferhat Arican, Ibrahim Colak, and Umit Samiloglu – all capable of making finals, Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine on p-bars especially, and his teammate Igor Radivilov on rings and vault.
The German men’s team will see Marcel Nguyen as a standout on floor, while Felix Remuta will compete floor and vault, Andreas Toba will compete pommels, rings, and high bar, Ivan Rittschik will compete pommels, Nick Klessing will compete rings and vault, Lukas Dauser and Philipp Herder will compete p-bars, and Christopher Jursch will compete high bar.
The competition begins with qualifications held Thursday and Friday evenings, and the finals will be held Saturday and Sunday afternoon, streamed live on the Olympic Channel. A full list of competitors is below.
|Samir Aït Saïd
|Aruna Budda Reddy
|Carlos Edriel Yulo|