The Spanish gymnastics federation named both the women’s and men’s teams set to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo yesterday.
For the women, 2019 world floor finalist Roxana Popa headlines the team as an individual standout, competing alongside 2019 worlds teammates Alba Petisco and Marina Gonzalez, as well as 2018 worlds competitor Laura Bechdeju.
This group of gymnasts recently competed at the FIT Challenge in Belgium along with Emma Fernandez, likely to serve as the alternate for the Games. While the team, which is missing out on important routines from the injured 2016 Olympian Ana Perez and Cintia Rodriguez, who was the top all-arounder for Spain at worlds in 2019, isn’t likely to reach the final, Popa will be a strong contender for the all-around, bars, and floor finals, and it would be nice to see the program qualify a second all-arounder as well, with all three on pretty much equal ground and capable of making it happen.
For the men, 2016 Olympian Nestor Abad leads a pretty young team that also includes two-time world championships team members Nicolau Mir, Thierno Diallo, and Joel Plata, all of whom made their worlds debuts this quad.
In addition to the four who will represent Spain in the team competition, the country will also send Rayderley Zapata, who qualified individually via the world cups on floor exercise, where he has a strong chance of both making the final and also potentially winning a medal.
Prior to traveling to Japan, the men will stop in Switzerland to compete in a friendly meet against the Swiss team, which should be good experience for them, as Spain has played it relatively safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, skipping out on most other international opportunities, including European Championships in both 2020 and 2021.
Article by Lauren Hopkins