Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei
The apparatus qualification series for the Olympic Games continues this weekend with the Baku World Cup, where gymnasts from 41 countries will hope to add points toward their overall rankings.
As it stands, for the women, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan leads vault, Lyu Jiaqi of China leads bars, Zhao Shiting of China leads beam, and Vanessa Ferrari of Italy leads floor. All but Shiting will be present in Baku this weekend, but they’ll all have some competition if they want to maintain their standings.
On vault, both Jade Carey of the United States and Alexa Moreno of Mexico are next in line to dethrone Chusovitina, and the 2017 world and European champions on this event – Maria Paseka of Russia and Coline Devillard of France, respectively – will deepen the field, as will Dipa Karmakar of India.
Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden will hope to overcome some of the mistakes made in Melbourne to get closer to the top on bars, where Diana Varinska of Ukraine and Anastasia Iliankova will also be threats. And on floor, Carey should be the strongest in this field to keep Ferrari on her toes, but Ferrari’s own teammate, Lara Mori, will also present quite a challenge on that even this weekend.
Beam is a bit of a toss-up, as always, but I’m hoping Anastasiia Bachynska in her senior international debut will end up in the mix, Marine Boyer has looked fantastic in recent competitions, and Ferrari could be strong here if she hits, and there’s plenty of opportunity for surprises here as well.
The men’s field here is a really exciting one, with a number of the events looking like they’ll come down to close finishes. Lee Chih Kai of Chinese Taipei, who won the pommels titles in both Cottbus and Melbourne, is back for round three, but he’ll again face close competitor Weng Hao of China as well as the strong Saeedreza Keikha of Iran, so this will be one of my favorite battles to watch.
My other favorite is high bar, where Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands and Hidetaka Miyachi of Japan each have a win so far this season. Zonderland has a five-point lead overall, and Miyachi has an opportunity to surpass him in the standings, while Tin Srbic of Croatia isn’t far behind and should add even more drama to this match.
Liu Yang of China and Igor Radivilov of Ukraine have solid leads on rings and vault, respectively, each winning the golds in both Cottbus and Melbourne, but the current leaders on floor (Carlos Edriel Yulo) and parallel bars (Ferhat Arican) won’t be in attendance here, so I’m excited to see some other guys climb the ranks…specifically Dominick Cunningham of Great Britain and Rayderley Zapata on floor and You Hao of China and Ahmet Önder of Turkey on p-bars.
A full list of competitors is below. Qualifications are held tomorrow and Friday while finals will be held over the weekend, with women’s vault and bars and men’s floor, p-bars, and rings on Saturday and women’s beam and floor and men’s vault, pommels, and high bar on Sunday.
Tarek Hamdy Shalaby
|Samir Aït Saïd
|Ng Kiu Chung|
Colin Van Wicklen
|Dinh Phuong Thanh
Le Thanh Tung