With seven subdivisions down and three to go in women’s qualifications at world championships, the U.S. women currently have a dominant lead going into the final.
Leanne Wong edged out teammate Kayla DiCello by less than half a tenth after both put on solid performances on Monday, with Wong earning a 55.749 ahead of DiCello’s 55.700. Both gymnasts looked to be close to top form compared to last week’s trial meet, with Wong especially sharp, calm, and beautiful all at once, making execution her top priority, with none of her E scores lower than an 8.3. This was a massive improvement compared to how she looked both at trials and in podium training, though I think her real challenge now will be matching what she proved capable of in qualifications under the pressure of an all-around final, but if she can do that, she’ll absolutely be a medal threat.
I thought DiCello also had a strong performance, though she was a little more hesitant in some areas, especially on bars and beam. Her work on vault and floor was exemplary, though, and with perhaps a wee bit more room for improvement than Wong, it could make things very interesting in the final. Of course, the Americans will have to wait and see how the Russians look in their own qualification round on Tuesday, but it’s safe to say they’re both pretty secure for the top three or four, depending on how Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova look.
Both Wong and DiCello are also top contenders going into the beam and floor finals, with Wong currently ranked third on beam and second on floor, while DiCello is fifth on beam and third on floor. The Americans didn’t get anyone into the vault or bars finals, and the other two on the U.S. team in Kitakyushu came up short. While Konnor McClain is currently sitting in sixth on beam with a 13.466 and eMjae Frazier is currently seventh on floor with a 13.166, both will miss the final regardless of what their final placements are due to the two-per-country limit. McClain had a mostly excellent beam set and was looking to surpass a 14 until a massive wobble on her layout series knocked her score down, while Frazier looked a bit labored on floor, and was unable to make it through her big tumbling passes without massive landing deductions.
Outside of the U.S., there is a crowd of gymnasts in the 52-53 range, led by Japan’s own Hatakeda Hitomi currently in third with a 53.798, followed by Filipa Martins of Portugal in fourth with a 53.032, Wei Xiaoyuan of China in fifth with a 52.865, Carolann Heduit of France in sixth with a 52.765, Anastasiia Bachynska of Ukraine in seventh with a 52.665, and Naomi Visser of the Netherlands in eighth with a 52.266.
Hatakeda, who is currently eighth on bars but not likely to make the final with a few strong bar workers still to come, had a really strong performance from start to finish, and it was a brilliant day for the rest of the Japanese team as well, with Murakami Mai currently leading the pack on floor with a 14.166 while sitting seventh on beam, Hiraiwa Yuna currently fourth on floor with a 13.400, and Ashikawa Urara currently fourth on beam with a 13.533 after an incredible save on a massive wobble that nearly ended her competition, but with one of the most difficult sets of the day and with otherwise lovely work, she was able to stay in the mix.
While I considered Martins a big threat for the bars final and someone who would make the all-around final, I didn’t think of her as a potential all-around leader, so to see her currently in fourth with the potential to rotate with the top group in the final is beyond my wildest expectation. Bars aside, where she’s waiting patiently in fifth with a 14.133, Martins didn’t have any true standout routines, going sub-13 on both beam and floor with hit routines (though she’s still eighth on floor when you account for two-per-country removals) and getting a 13.3 for her Yurchenko full on vault, but simply hitting on what was a tough day for most of the athletes was enough to keep her above some of the more realistic medal contenders.
Wei is one of those, scoring far below her potential with falls on both beam (where she came out of her switch ring crooked and then completely missed the direction on the Korbut) and floor (where she came up short on her double tuck, stumbling and then crashing forward onto her head). But while I considered her a top contender coming into this meet, seeing how weak she is on vault and floor even with hits compared to the Americans and Russians will hold her back quite a bit, even if she pulls off the brilliant work she’s capable of on bars and beam. I think she’ll need to rely on mistakes from the more well-balanced all-arounders in addition to hitting her own routines at a hundred percent.
In better news, Wei is currently leading the field on bars with a 14.733 thanks to an excellent routine that included an inbar full to Komova II to Pak, van Leeuwen, inbar half to front pirouettes to piked Jaeger, and a full-twisting double layout. As for the rest of China, Luo Rui had a fantastic day, putting up some of the cleanest work of the day on both bars and beam, where she’s second with a 14.500 and first with a 14.566, respectively, though both Li Shijia and Qi Qi had bummer performances causing them to miss their chances at any finals. Li couldn’t catch her Gienger on bars and then missed a foot on her switch ring on beam, while Qi had to downgrade her double double on floor to a half-in half-out, where she looked a bit weak overall, and then crashed both her Yurchenko double and handspring rudi on vault.
Heduit put up mostly hits aside from a few mistakes, including grabbing the beam after her flight series and getting hammered for her difficult yet flawed bars set, where she had leg form deductions on nearly every skill, but her Yurchenko double was strong, keeping her afloat ahead of most of the gymnasts without that vault difficulty. Her teammate Celia Serber is currently 14th in the all-around, coming back from a nasty fall where she hit her head on the beam going into her dismount to hit floor, where she looked fine (she was evaluated between her beam and floor routines and cleared to compete, and later said on Twitter that she just has some neck pain, nothing serious).
Unfortunately, Coline Devillard, who was France’s biggest hope for an apparatus final and medal, had a rough handspring rudi with a really deep landing, earning a 13.2, and though she landed her Yurchenko double, it wasn’t great, with two large steps back to earn a 13.7. In the end, her average came in at just a 13.450, and while she’s seventh at the moment, it’s a precarious position to be in with Melnikova and Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade coming up on day two.
As with Martins, I felt Bachynska’s all-around performance really surpassed my expectations, especially on bars, where she pulled out a hit, and floor, where she was great and is currently sixth when you account for two-per-country, so she could potentially hold onto a final spot there as well. Her beam routine had a few spotty moments, and she did a Yurchenko full on vault instead of the 1½, so a 52.665 for a day that wasn’t perfect was great to see for her, and I’m hoping she can do even more in the final. Her teammate Yelizaveta Hubareva is 11th in the all-around right now, also hitting all four events, though she had significant form deductions across the board.
Aside from a missed toe full on bars that caused her to lose her rhythm, Visser had a good day in the all-around, and she’s another with room for improvement, while Vera van Pol is almost certain to miss the final after two falls on bars (she’s 23rd right now with a 48.415). Sanna Veerman had falls on both bars and beam, but Elze Geurts was a real star for the Dutch team, hitting her Yurchenko double and handspring front layout full to average a 14.350 on vault, where she currently leads the field by half a point, and she’s also seventh on floor right now taking two-per-country into account, so even if she misses that final, she still really proved herself to be a star in this field.
The Italians could consider the day a success, with Asia and Alice D’Amato currently ranked ninth and tenth in the all-around with almost twin scores of 52.099 and 52.098, though there was some drama with Asia’s score, which was half a point higher until the judges realized she missed a full twisting pass on floor (she downgraded her full-twisting double layout to just a double layout and didn’t make up for it elsewhere), dropping both her floor and all-around totals.
But both will still be in the all-around final, and Asia is ranked second on vault with a 13.816 average right now, while Alice is seventh on bars with a 13.966, and the team also has Elisa Iorio in fourth on bars with a 14.183 and eighth on beam with a 13.1. The biggest bummer was seeing Desiree Carofiglio, only just back from an injury that took her out of Olympic contention, miss her first two floor passes (a front layout to double front followed by a piked double front) and then also sit her Yurchenko 1½ on vault.
Next up are the Brits. First-year senior Ruby Stacey hit all four events to sit in 12th with a 50.765, though Georgia-Mae Fenton, right behind her in 13th with a 50.690, falling on a front aerial on beam as well as her double front on floor, and some form on bars held her back to a 13.658.
Becky Downie had hits on both bars and beam, and is playing the waiting game to see if she makes either final. Her bars were downgraded and had a couple of iffy moments, including a crooked catch on the Tweddle to Ezhova and then a deep, lunged landing on the full-in dismount, but her 6.2 difficulty is still one of the highest in the field, and she managed a 14.0, good enough for sixth at the moment. On beam, there was a missed leap connection and her switch ring wasn’t quite what it needed to be, but again, her difficulty level and strong work outside of these areas got her to a 13.333, which is seventh place for now.
Canada’s sole all-arounder Rose Woo is in 15th with a 50.466, falling on beam and fighting through minor mistakes on bars and floor; Maria Ceplinschi of Romania is 16th with a 50.399, falling on beam but hitting one of her stronger floor routines (she’s fifth with a 13.3 right now); Jennifer Williams of Sweden is 17th with a 50.032, falling on beam, typically her best event, but hitting the rest; and from here, the field strength drops a bit, with Stefanie Siegenthaler of Switzerland in 18th with a 48.864, Marlies Männersdorfer of Austria in 19th with a 48.798, Csenge Bacskay of Hungary in 20th with a 48.698, Zoja Szekely of Hungary in 21st with a 48.565, Ada Hautala of Finland in 22nd with a 48.431, van Pol in 23rd with a 48.415, and Alais Perea of Ecuador in 24th with a 48.274.
Following Geurts and D’Amato leading vault, we have Bacskay in third averaging a 13.666 for her strong Yurchenko 1½ and tsuk full, Nancy Taman of Egypt in fourth with a 13.533 average (she went for a Yurchenko double for her first vault), Ofir Netzer in fifth with a 13.516, Audrey Rousseau of Canada in sixth with a 13.499, Devillard in seventh with a 13.450, and Aruna Budda Reddy of India in eighth with a 13.353.
Zsofia Kovacs of Hungary is the top bars gymnast following China’s Wei and Luo, earning a 14.433 for a strong 6.2 set, and then just behind her are Iorio, Martins, Downie, D’Amato, and Hatakeda. Pauline Schäfer of Germany put together one of her best beam performances of the year to earn a 13.7, putting her second behind Luo for now, and ahead of Wong, Ashikawa, DiCello, Murakami, Downie, and Iorio. On floor, there isn’t anyone I haven’t already talked about in the mix, with Japan and the United States taking up the top four spots, followed by Ceplinschi, Bachynska, Geurts, and Martins.
The biggest miss for me was Ting Hua-Tien of Taiwan on beam, who had beautiful work but too many pauses and broken connections to get the score she needed to make the final, ending up with a 12.933, which is currently 10th accounting for two-per-country.
I was also hoping for an all-around final spot for Camille Rasmussen, who debuted Denmark’s first Yurchenko double on vault over the summer and hit it in competition today, but a rough landing there following a crash in warm-ups in addition to some weak execution on bars and a fall on beam held her back to a 47.332, currently 30th. Still, this is going to be one of Denmark’s strongest worlds performances in history and its best all-around score under the current code of points (Mette Hulgaard‘s 44.906 in 2017 was the highest until now), so I think this can be chalked up as a win for her first international senior season, and I’m hoping the little improvements will happen over the next couple of years going into the qualifiers for Paris.
My feelings are the same for Perea, who is 24th right now and will definitely drop out of the final after the second day of prelims, but she represents next-level talent for her country, and her score here was with weak bars and beam performances, so I’m excited to watch her grow in the coming years as well.
Still to come in Tuesday’s qualifications are the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Slovenia in the eighth subdivision, Brazil, Ireland, and Mexico in the ninth, and Russia, Slovakia, and South Korea in the tenth and final group. Based on who’s competing, the bars field has the most potential for a shake-up, as the Russians could easily put two into this final, while and Lee Yunseo of South Korea are also capable of outscoring those who are borderline at the moment.
We’ll also likely drop at least two on vault, with Andrade and Melnikova the top contenders and Tjasa Kysselef of Slovenia also one to watch out for, and the Russians are also threats on both beam and floor, though beam of course is no guarantee for anyone. Melnikova and Urazova will compete in the all-around for Russia, and both are capable of taking over the top spots going into the final, though no one else in this field is likely to reach the top group.
A full list of all current standings and reserves are below.
1. Leanne Wong USA 55.749 Q
2. Kayla DiCello USA 55.700 Q
3. Hatakeda Hitomi JPN 53.798 Q
4. Filipa Martins POR 53.032 Q
5. Wei Xiaoyuan CHN 52.865 Q
6. Carolann Heduit FRA 52.765 Q
7. Anastasiia Bachynska UKR 52.665 Q
8. Naomi Visser NED 52.266 Q
9. Asia D’Amato ITA 52.099 Q
10. Alice D’Amato ITA 52.098 Q
11. Yelizaveta Hubareva UKR 51.265 Q
12. Ruby Stacey GBR 50.765 Q
13. Georgia-Mae Fenton GBR 50.690 Q
14. Celia Serber FRA 50.499
15. Rose Woo CAN 50.466
16. Maria Ceplinschi ROU 50.399
17. Jennifer Williams SWE 50.032
18. Stefanie Siegenthaler SUI 48.864
19. Marlies Männersdorfer AUT 48.798
20. Csenge Bacskay HUN 48.698
21. Zoja Szekely HUN 48.565
22. Ada Hautala FIN 48.431
23. Vera van Pol NED 48.415
24. Alais Perea ECU 48.274
25. Ting Hua-Tien TPE 48.166
26. Lilli Habisreutinger SUI 47.832
27. Rosanna Ojala FIN 47.823
28. Celeste Mordenti LUX 47.791
29. Tonya Paulsson SWE 47.631
30. Camille Rasmussen DEN 47.332
31. Nathalie Westlund SWE 47.299
32. Maria Mendes POR 47.033
33. Bilge Tarhan TUR 46.666
34. Maria Tronrud NOR 46.465
35. Göksu Üctas Sanli TUR 46.166
36. Christina Zwicker CRO 46.165
37. Yiseth Valenzuela COL 45.899
38. Aruna Budda Reddy IND 45.740
39. Ofir Netzer ISR 45.498
40. Juliane Tøssebro NOR 45.332
41. Gudrun Hardardottir ISL 45.132
42. Freja Petersen DEN 45.032
43. Farida Dabour EGY 44.132
44. Rafaela Ferreira POR 43.698
45. Margret Kristinsdottir ISL 43.398
46. Geffen Dor ISR 43.298
47. Pranati Das IND 42.964
48. Shraddha Talekar IND 40.132
Q = based on the fact that only 11 gymnasts will compete in the all-around on the second day of qualifications, these gymnasts have secured their spots in the final. Anyone ranked 25th or lower is out of contention to make the final.
1. Elisabeth Geurts NED 14.350
2. Asia D’Amato ITA 13.816
3. Csenge Bacskay HUN 13.666
4. Nancy Taman EGY 13.533
5. Ofir Netzer ISR 13.516
6. Audrey Rousseau CAN 13.499
7. Coline Devillard FRA 13.450
8. Aruna Budda Reddy IND 13.353
9. Yana Fedorova UKR 13.316
10. Camille Rasmussen DEN 13.066
11. Yiseth Valenzuela COL 12.949
12. Qi Qi CHN 12.933
1. Wei Xiaoyuan CHN 14.733
2. Luo Rui CHN 14.500
3. Zsofia Kovacs HUN 14.433
4. Elisa Iorio ITA 14.183
5. Filipa Martins POR 14.133
6. Becky Downie GBR 14.000
7. Alice D’Amato ITA 13.966
8. Hatakeda Hitomi JPN 13.933
9. Kayla DiCello USA 13.900
10. Leanne Wong USA 13.683
11. Georgia-Mae Fenton GBR 13.658
12. Carolann Heduit FRA 13.366
1. Luo Rui CHN 14.566
2. Pauline Schäfer GER 13.733
3. Leanne Wong USA 13.700
4. Ashikawa Urara JPN 13.533
5. Kayla DiCello USA 13.500
6. Murakami Mai JPN 13.400
7. Becky Downie GBR 13.333
8. Elisa Iorio ITA 13.100
9. Asia D’Amato ITA 13.000
10. Ting Hua-Tien TPE 12.933
11. Naomi Visser NED 12.933
12. Filipa Martins POR 12.666
1. Murakami Mai JPN 14.166
2. Leanne Wong USA 14.000
3. Kayla DiCello USA 13.800
4. Hiraiwa Yuna JPN 13.400
5. Maria Ceplinschi ROU 13.300
6. Anastasiia Bachynska UKR 13.100
7. Elisabeth Geurts NED 12.966
8. Filipa Martins POR 12.933
9. Naomi Visser NED 12.900
10. Pauline Schäfer GER 12.866
11. Alice D’Amato ITA 12.833
12. Qi Qi CHN 12.833
Article by Lauren Hopkins