The second apparatus world cup of the current series kicks off in Melbourne this week, continuing the Olympic qualification process for gymnasts who are hoping to make it to Tokyo as specialists, and Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari will be there, competing for the first time since rupturing her Achilles in the floor final at world championships in 2017.
Ferrari, who last quad won a world silver medal on floor before making the Olympic final in Rio, has expressed interest in qualifying as an individual rather than attempting to make the Italian team, partly because it would allow her to focus on her two strongest events rather than pushing to be an all-arounder.
She’ll compete both of these events – beam and floor – in Melbourne this week, kick starting what will be her fourth Olympic journey. Originally expected to retire after 2016, Ferrari decided she wasn’t done yet, and though her Achilles injury took her out of competition for nearly 18 months, she seems incredibly excited about returning, and I can’t wait to see how she looks.
Other top talents in the women’s field in Melbourne include 2017 world uneven bars champion Fan Yilin of China, 2018 European uneven bars silver medalist Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden, 2018 world vault bronze medalist Alexa Moreno of Mexico, and the legendary Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, a seven-time Olympian going for an unprecedented number eight, which would make her one of only 13 athletes in history to accomplish this feat. Chusovitina will compete all events but floor here, and while the specialist path to Tokyo is an option for her, she’s actually planning on bringing her all-around program back to give her another chance at qualifying through world championships later this year.
On vault, Yeo Seo-jeong of South Korea, who made history for South Korea with her Asian Games gold last year and then again with her fifth-place finish at worlds, will be one to watch for the title, Lyu Jiaqi of China should be a top contender on bars, Ting Hua-Tien of Chinese Taipei is my favorite underdog on beam, Valeriia Osipova has some potentially big upgrades on floor, and I’m looking forward to the senior debut of China’s Zhao Shiting, who will compete beam and floor here, and has strong potential on both.
Additionally, the Australian team will see veterans Georgia-Rose Brown and Emma Nedov leading the charge, while relative international newcomers Romi Brown and Elena Chipizubov are also on the roster, though sadly 2018 Commonwealth Games floor champion Alexandra Eade has withdrawn due to an injury.
In the men’s competition, 2018 world floor bronze medalist Carlos Edriel Yulo of the Philippines will hope to contend for medals on floor and vault here, 2018 world pommel horse bronze medalist Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei will be a top contender on his best event, 2018 world rings silver medalist Arthur Zanetti of Brazil will hope to top the field there, and the last two world champions on high bar – Tin Srbic of Croatia and Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands – should put on quite a show fighting for the title there.
I’m also excited for Dominick Cunningham of Great Britain, who is listed to compete all six events, though vault will be especially interesting, as he’s been working on upgrades since placing a close fourth on the event at worlds last year. His teammate Courtney Tulloch should be a top competitor on rings, which is shaping up to be a super competitive event here with China’s Liu Yang, Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov, France’s Samir Aït Saïd, Egypt’s Ali Zahran, and Turkey’s Ibrahim Colak all in the mix.
Radivilov, Andrey Medvedev of Israel, Loris Frasca of France, and Australia’s own Christopher Remkes will also be ones to watch on vault, Weng Hao of China, Cyril Tommasone of France, and Tomomasa Hasegawa of Japan should add some major competition on pommels, I’m looking forward to Remkes, Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan, Alexander Shatilov of Israel, Rayderley Zapata of Spain, and the Dutch gymnasts Casimir Schmidt and Bram Verhofstad on floor, David Vecsernyes of Hungary, Umit Samiloglu of Turkey, and Hidetaka Miyachi of Japan will bring some beauty to high bar, and though most of the world’s top p-bars workers won’t compete in Melbourne, we should get some great routines from Ferhat Arican of Turkey and Jossimar Calvo of Colombia there. Additionally, Ahmet Önder of Turkey will compete all six events, and he has potential to make several finals, with some medals on the line as well.
A full list of competitors is below. The competition begins with qualifications held this coming Thursday and Friday, and then finals will be held over the weekend, at 6 pm on Saturday and 3 pm on Sunday, with all times local to the competition. You should be able to find live results here, and while qualifications generally don’t stream, the finals will likely stream online in addition to airing on the Olympic Channel in the U.S.
|Samir Aït Saïd
|Carlos Edriel Yulo|
|Lincoln Liqht Man
Wei An Terry Tay
|Rok Klavora||Tjasa Kysselef|
|Yazan Al Souliman|
|Igor Radivilov||Valeriia Osipova|
Article by Lauren Hopkins