Lara Mori and Vanessa Ferrari
It’s take two for the Doha World Cup, which was supposed to wrap up the apparatus world cup Olympic qualifying series in March. Due to a postponement of over three months in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the meet is now taking place over the next four days, and the ten gymnasts who will earn berths to Tokyo will finally see payoff.
In addition to finally seeing the apparatus world cup spots named this weekend, the FIG should also confirm the athletes and countries that have qualified via the continental championships. Most of those who have already earned continental berths won’t be affected, but one there’s one notable – and potentially messy – exception on the men’s side, as the Russians technically earned a second non-nominative spot at the European Championships. But if Russia’s Vladislav Poliashov ends up winning the parallel bars berth here, given the order of how spots are awarded, it will mean Russia will have to accept the parallel bars spot on top of the all-around world cup berth they’ve already earned, in which case the Euros spot will open up to Nicola Bartolini of Italy.
That all depends on who wins rings, however. Right now, Liu Yang of China has the lead, and even though two other Chinese men lead apparatuses – Weng Hao on pommels and You Hao on parallel bars – with the one-per-country tie-breaker, Liu would get it, opening up the other two events to the athletes next-in-line, which would be Poliashov for parallel bars, which would mean Bartolini gets to go to Tokyo.
But the Chinese athletes aren’t competing in Doha this weekend, and Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece has a shot to take over the rings rankings if he can score a 15.333 or higher. If he wins rings, You is next in line to earn a spot for China on parallel bars. Both You and Poliashov have 90 points right now, with You winning the tie-breaker, but since neither are in Doha and with no one else mathematically close enough to take over, it means a Petrounias win on rings gives the parallel bars spot to You, which means that Russia will then win a non-nominative continental berth, and Bartolini wins nothing.
If you’re thinking “so Bartolini’s Olympic fate rests in the hands of Petrounias failing to match the scores he got at Euros?” then congrats, we’re in exactly the same mental space.
Thankfully, the rest of these spots are much easier to figure out, and some are even mathematically impossible to top.
For the women, Jade Carey of the United States has unofficially locked down the vault spot, Fan Yilin of China is mathematically unbeatable on the uneven bars, Ashikawa Urara of Japan is all set for beam, and none of these athletes have registered to compete in Doha because they don’t need to be there. The spots are theirs.
Carey is also technically the series winner on floor, but since she’ll already qualify on vault, she’s not eligible to also take the title – and the Olympic berth – here, leaving Italy’s Lara Mori and Vanessa Ferrari to battle it out. The two are tied in terms of points, as both have 80 total right now, and if either of them wins the gold on floor in Doha, that gymnast will snag enough points to win the Olympic berth outright.
If neither wins and if the two remain tied in terms of their points, Mori will win the tiebreaker based on her actual scores in her three counting exercises from the routines she’s already done. However, if Ferrari places second ahead of Mori and scores at least a 13.266, she will be able to drop 25 points and her corresponding 12.966 score from Baku 2020, which could then put her ahead of Mori’s total.
Basically, Ferrari either needs gold, or silver with a 13.266+ performance, while Mori can finish anywhere as long as Ferrari doesn’t do either of those things. Mori is then essentially showing up to play defense, to hold Ferrari back from overtaking her as the current leader, and she’ll either want to beat Ferrari here herself or hope that someone else beats her so she can be sure that Ferrari won’t be able to sneak in and get the spot.
For the men, Rayderley Zapata of Spain should be secure on floor while Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands will be all set on high bar, but the other four apparatuses could all see some really tight races.
I’ve talked about the rings situation already, where either Liu or Petrounias will qualify depending on how Petrounias performs here. To reiterate, if Petrounias gets it, You will get the parallel bars spot, but if Petrounias can’t score well enough to get through, Liu will take the rings spot, and Poliashov will get in on parallel bars.
Over on pommels, where Weng is leading at the moment but not eligible due to the one-per-country limitations, it’s looking like Kameyama Kohei of Japan will be next in line. He’s in Doha, as is the gymnast just behind him, but Saeedreza Keikha of Iran would have to win gold on the event just to tie Kameyama’s 80-point total, and then he’d also have to beat his FIG points total, which might be a tall order.
Finally, on vault, things are looking good for Shin Jean-hwan of South Korea, though Yonekura Hidenobu of Japan and Jorge Vega Lopez of Guatemala are close behind and mathematically capable of getting upsets (though if both Kameyama and Yonekura end up topping pommels and vault, respectively, Kameyama would win the tie-break to get Japan’s one available spot). Shin, Yonekura, and Vega Lopez will all compete in Doha this week, but if Shin brings out – and hits! – his full difficulty, he’ll be most likely to hold onto the top spot in the series.
The full roster is below. As far as I know, there won’t be a stream for qualifications – held Wednesday, June 23 and Thursday, June 24 – but the finals on Friday and Saturday will be live on the Olympic Channel.
|Francisco Barretto Junior
|Jorge Vega Lopez|
|Mahdi Ahmad Kohani
|Ahmad Abu Al Soud|
|Ahmed Al Dyani||Duha Al Habshi|
Article by Lauren Hopkins