The ninth subdivision for women’s qualifications includes the Japanese and Mexican teams, and then individuals from Costa Rica, Peru, Latvia, Lithuania, and Armenia.
Japan is obviously a huge one to watch here, though I’m a little worried about their chances of getting into the team final without Mai Murakami and with Aiko Sugihara not at a hundred percent.
Mexico is a favorite of mine to sneak in, but I do think it’ll take a LOT for them to make it happen. Spain did SO fantastically in the last subdivision and still came two points away from Belgium, and they have a bit more difficulty overall than Mexico brings in, so I think it’s going to be really difficult even with their fab mix of veterans and superb newcomers.
I’m hoping for really big things for Asuka Teramoto and also think Hitomi Hatakeda will be a threat. For Mexico, Elsa Garcia isn’t doing bars, so it’s going to be tricky to see if they’ll be able to qualify someone, but they definitely have some options, with Anapaula Gutierrez, Alexa Moreno, and Ana Lago all hoping to make it. Still, I think for them, it’ll be more about qualifying to Tokyo than making the final.
My underdog faves in this rotation are Latvia’s Elina Vihrova, Lithuania’s Egle Stalinkeviciute, Costa Rica’s Luciana Alvarado, and one of the Peruvian girls, between Sandra Collantes and Ariana Orrego.
Alexa Moreno will be the big one to watch here, as the reigning bronze medalist. Though the competition will be a bit tougher this year, I think she’ll at the very least have a super strong shot at making the final.
This isn’t a strong bars group, though Frida Esparza is absolutely lovely to watch and should bring in a big score for Mexico. For Japan, Teramoto and Hatakeda are likely to put up the biggest scores, but again, neither is going to be a finals threat.
I always go back to Teramoto for beam, though she’s kind of hit or miss here despite being truly fabulous when she is on. Sugihara is always lovely to watch as well, but again, she isn’t a finals threat. For the individuals, Orrego is a fantastic beam worker, so I’d keep an eye on her for a solid and enjoyable routine.
Without Murakami, this is a really weak floor team, and I doubt any of the gymnasts here could make it in for Japan. Mexico has some artistic routines, but not a lot of difficulty…though for the individuals, there should be several standouts to watch for the performances more than for the difficulty. Alvarado should be great here, as should Collantes and Orrego.