The final day of qualifications at world championships, featuring another six subdivisions of men’s competition, beings in just a few hours in Kitakyushu, Japan, and we’re going to take you through a subdivision-by-subdivision look at the biggest threats for finals and medals.
Japan is the big one here, especially as the host country, and double especially because Olympic all-around Hashimoto Daiki is competing. He’ll be doing the all-around, and I wouldn’t expect him to look pretty much any different than how he looked in Tokyo just a couple of months ago, which will make him once again one of the biggest threats here. He does have some strong competition from Zhang Boheng of China, who currently leads the all-around with an 87.897, something Hashimoto is capable of if he’s at a hundred percent. Hashimoto will also be going for pretty much every final but rings, where he’s a bit weak in comparison to the top guys, and vault, as he’s only doing one.
Olympic teammate Kaya Kazuma is another one to watch on a number of events, with pommels and p-bars his specialty. Minami Kazuki is one of the best floor workers in the world and will be throwing massive difficulty as one who will be really difficult to beat here, both Asato Keisuke and Yonekura Hidenobu will be going for the vault final and both should have the top difficulty here, with the exception of maybe Shek Wai Hung of Hong Kong if he throws his biggest vaults, and the legend Uchimura Kohei will be going for high bar gold, getting a bit of revenge after missing out on the final in Tokyo.
Caio Souza will be doing the all-around for Brazil, and I think he could be capable of being in the mix for a medal, not as one of the very top guys, but potentially in the top six with a chance at sneaking the bronze. An Olympic vault finalist, that’ll also be his best chance for an apparatus final here, and I’d like to see him get close on a couple of other events as well, with rings another good standout event for him.
Arthur Mariano is the only other Brazilian man here, and he’s focusing just on high bar, where – like Uchimura – he’ll be out for blood after missing the final in Tokyo despite coming in as the reigning world champion and one of the top contenders for gold.
None of the top Swiss guys are here, but they still have a lot of strength in the guys who made It. Taha Serhani is a strong high bar worker who will have the final in his sights, Henji Mboyo will be doing the all-around, and while I think he can get in here, I don’t see him making any apparatus finals, Andrin Frey is doing three events, with floor and vault where he has the biggest final potential, though I think his difficulty – especially on vault – could hold him back, Noe Seifert is similar in his chances with pommels and p-bars, and Moreno Kratter will be attempting floor and high bar, but it’s unlikely that he’ll have the scores to get into either.
Vahagn Davtyan of Armenia could be one of the stronger rings hopefuls, and Ivan Tikhonov should be a top contender for the vault final if he can pull out a hit. A fall on his first vault in Tokyo kept him from bothering with a second, but he looked fantastic in podium training there, so hopefully that was a fluke and he’ll be more competitive today.
Panama will also appear in this subdivision.
The U.S. men are going to be the highlights in the fourth subdivision, where Yul Moldauer will be making a run for the all-around final in addition to contending for a spot on floor, Brody Malone should have a great shot at the high bar final, where he could be capable of a medal with a good routine, and the team has two big hopes on pommel horse with Olympic finalist Alec Yoder and Stephen Nedoroscik in the mix, though Nedoroscik got to Japan late and I’m hoping his lack of training time doesn’t affect him too much.
Alex Diab, the Olympic alternate, is super consistent on rings and I can see him being at the top of the pack there, and then Donnell Whittenburg will be attempting to make the floor and vault finals. He struggled a bit in the trial, but he has really competitive vaults if he hits, so we’ll see what he’s capable of here. I can see him playing it safe with one of his vaults in prelims to reach the final and then going for broke with his bigger sets once he’s in.
Belarus has two strong vaulters here, with both Sviataslau Dranitski and Yahor Sharamkou competing there and on floor, where Sharamkou is also pretty strong, but I don’t see Dranitski getting in there. Dranitski is also doing the all-around, and could have a shot at the final with a hit day, but again, vault is the must-watch here.
I also love Lithuania’s Robert Tvorogal, who should be on the better end of the all-arounders, with a chance at qualifying to the p-bars and high bars finals if he hits. He competed a bit nervous in Tokyo, but under non-Olympic pressure, he’s usually pretty great, and I’m hoping he can pull it out here.
Taiwan has a mostly inexperienced team here, with Olympian Shiao Yu-Jan the veteran of the group, while his young Tokyo teammate Hung Yuan-Hsi is also here, but without the program’s two stars, I don’t see anyone really coming in as a threat for any event. The same goes for the Netherlands, especially now that Casimir Schmidt is out, though I think Loran de Munck could have a fair shot at the pommels final, and I’d be happy if Jermain Grünberg had a good all-around performance.
Iceland and Syria also have athletes in this subdivision.
I’m looking to Kazakhstan as the standout here, with Milad Karimi, who so endearingly made the floor final back in his first senior year in 2017 and is now a fully grown man with some of the best floor and high bar work in the field (vault is good, too, but his difficulty may hold him back here). He didn’t have the easiest time in Tokyo’s finals, but he proved that he’s capable of getting in and competing among the best, so the biggest test for him here will be competing under pressure if he can get back in. He’ll also be going for the all-around final, which should be no biggie for him, and I’d like to see him have a top eight finish.
Nariman Kurbanov should also be one to watch closely for the pommels final. Internationally, he hasn’t scored below a 14.75 at all this year, and he’s capable of going 15+ when he’s at his best, which should be enough to get him in.
This is a relatively slow subdivision as a whole, but Jossimar Calvo of Colombia is doing the all-around and is generally excellent on p-bars, and this is also where we’ll see Marian Dragulescu of Romania compete for the last time ever, though his vaults in podium training were reportedly a bit difficult for him to get around, so we’ll see what he manages here.
Egypt and Mexico both have some talented guys here, including Ali Zahran on rings for Egypt and Javier Rojo, a strong vaulter for Mexico. Thailand will also compete, but they aren’t likely to get anyone into finals. One of their gymnasts, Tikumporn Surintornta, was the runner-up to Carlos Yulo on floor at the Southeast Asian Games with a pretty solid score, but I’m not sure if it’ll be quite enough in this field to make it, even if he’s at his best.
In comparison, this subdivision will be busy, with Great Britain, Turkey, Canada, South Korea, Ireland, Vietnam, and Ecuador all putting up gymnasts.
Joshua Nathan will compete the all-around for the Brits, and he’s also a pommels standout, with big potential for making that final. Dominick Cunningham is one to watch for both the floor and vault finals, while Courtney Tulloch will be hoping to get in on rings and vault, Brinn Bevan is back and going for the pommels and p-bars finals, Hayden Skinner is a strong floor standout, and Joe Cemlyn-Jones is competing for events. While he isn’t a strong contender for any of the finals, this will be great experience for him as the British men’s program continues to build depth.
Turkey brought a good mix of veterans and young guys, with Ahmet Önder and Adem Asil both going for the all-around final, where they should both be considered in the group of medal hopefuls (though hopefully they’ll actually make it through the whole final this time…Asil withdrew early at Euros and Önder came out during the Olympics, both due to rings-related shoulder injuries). They’ll both also be strong contenders for several finals.
There’s also Ibrahim Colak on rings, the reigning world champion who made the final at the Olympics this summer. He missed a medal in Tokyo, but with this field a little less deep, I think he’ll be right back up there as one of the top guys looking to get on the podium.
Canada’s top two guys should be William Emard, who is competing in the all-around but is especially excellent on floor and vault, and Felix Dolci, who is competing rings and high bar and could have the potential for either final. Olympian Rene Cournoyer is also here on a few events, and the country will put up Chris Kaji on rings, Jayson Rampersad on pommels, and Zachary Clay on p-bars and pommels.
Olympic vault champion Shin Jeahwan was supposed to be a highlight for South Korea, but it looks like he’s off the roster, and the team will only have five athletes compete. My favorite is Ryu Sunghyun on floor…he’s a bit scrappy here but should have one of the most difficult routines, if not the most difficult, and he’s still so young, so this is just the beginning for him. His Olympic teammates Lee Junho and 2012 Olympic vault champion Yang Hakseon are both here, with Lee in the all-around and Yang going up on his signature event, and we’ll also see Bae Garam on pommels, and Lee Junghyo on everything but vault.
Only Rhys McClenaghan will compete for Ireland, but he should be enough for you with the best pommels set you’ll see all meet. When he’s on, he’s perfect, so hopefully qualifications will go well for him and he’ll pull off what we know he’s capable of to make the final and win his first world title.
I have two favorites in this subdivision. One, you probably know, and that’s Carlos Yulo of the Philippines, who is focusing on floor, vault, and p-bars here to make medals a priority over competing in the all-around. As the reigning world floor champion and having come within one one-hundredth of a vault medal at the Olympics, he’s absolutely capable of medals on events here.
My other favorite is a bit newer to the scene at the highest levels. Ondrej Kalny is just 20, and like Yulo, he’s excellent on floor and vault. He’s not quite as polished, but he competes his difficulty well, and is an exciting new prospect for the Czech team.
For Italy, my favorites for finals are Marco Lodadio on rings, Carlo Macchini on high bar, and Nicola Bartolini on floor, and Salvatore Maresca should also be a good contender for the rings final. As a note, no one is doing the all-around for this team.
The Kirmes brothers, Robert and Oskar, will compete in the all-around for Finland, with Elias Koski on every event but floor, because he has to make room for Emil Soravuo, a fantastic floor worker with dreamy execution and a shot at the final here.
Croatia also competes in this subdivision, with Aurel Benovic someone to keep an eye on for his excellent floor work (the number of people in this rotation alone who should make the floor final but probably won’t because it’s gonna be SO crowded has me depressed), while Filipe Ude will be one to watch on pommels.
Rounding out the subdivision is Rani Dalsgard of Denmark, who competes on floor.
I feel like most of the apparatus finals will be decided before the final subdivision, but there are still some standout guys here, including Sofus Heggemsnes of Norway, who has low difficulty but is so much fun to watch on every event, and I’m hoping he can pull off a strong enough performance for the all-around final. His teammate Harald Wibye isn’t quite as strong, but he’ll also be doing all six events with a hope of making the final.
This subdivision will also feature Marios Georgiou, who had a bit of a rough Olympics, but he’s generally a super strong all-arounder who would have been a finals contender had he signed up for that. Instead, he’s focusing on pommels, p-bars, and high bar, with high bar usually my favorite of his, but with a tough field, he’ll need to be giving it his all to get in.
The biggest apparatus final contender in this subdivision will definitely be Andrey Medvedev on vault. He has a supreme combination of difficulty and execution, and is one of my favorites to win a medal if he puts it all together. He’s the strongest here from Israel, which brought a few of the younger guys along, but I like Alexander Myakinin on high bar as an outlier for that final.
Sweden has two all-arounders with Kim Wanström and 2020 Olympian David Rumbutis both capable of some clean and lovely gymnastics. Austria’s Alexander Benda doesn’t have a ton of difficulty, but he’s also super clean, especially on floor, p-bars, and high bar, so I’d love to see him have a good day and make the all-around final so he can show these off. There’s also Vinzenz Höck for Austria, who will be a legitimate finals contender on rings.
India will also be in this subdivision, with Yogeshwar Singh the strongest of those here, and he’ll be doing the all-around with vault typically his strongest.
Article by Lauren Hopkins