As with all of the other continental championships competitions we’ve seen in 2022, this year’s European Championships will not only determine the best gymnasts of each region, but will also decide the teams and athletes that will be off to world championships in October.
The largest contingent of athletes will come from Euros, with a total of 13 teams and 23 all-arounders (two per country not qualified as a team) earning spots in tomorrow’s qualification round, which also serves as the all-around final as well as the qualifier for the team and apparatus finals held later this week.
Additionally, there is one individual spot available to the host country regardless of whether they qualify to worlds or not, but since Great Britain is the host this year and will pretty much certainly earn a team spot, it means that spot will be returned to the all-around pool at the continental meet where the host country competes, so a total of 24 individual athletes will make it in here.
A total of 27 nations sent full teams to vie for those 13 team spots, and though there are a number of teams in the mix that should make it in pretty easily, there are also a few smaller programs that will be on the bubble, with some looking to make pretty big jumps compared to previous team qualification standings at this meet.
The Top Marks
Let’s start with the most obvious, aka the teams that will be going for both worlds berths and the Euros podium. Great Britain is here with nearly its entire 2020 Olympic bronze medal winning squad, minus Amelie Morgan, plus a few 2022 Commonwealth Games champions. Alice Kinsella, a member of both teams, leads the group here, which also includes Jennifer Gadirova, Jessica Gadirova, Ondine Achampong, and Georgia-Mae Fenton.
The British team didn’t look quite as strong as expected in podium training, and they’ll be facing a couple of teams that came within a few tenths of the bronze in Tokyo, including Italy (featuring Olympians Alice D’Amato, Asia D’Amato, and Martina Maggio along with Giorgia Villa and Angela Andreoli) and France (featuring Olympians Marine Boyer, Aline Friess, and Carolann Heduit along with Lorette Charpy and Morgane Osyssek).
These are my top three teams for podium contention here, and I think the top all-arounders in tomorrow’s competition will also come from this group. In addition to the three above, I’d include Germany on that list for a potential upset. With the advantage of competing at home in Munich led almost entirely by veterans, including Olympians Elisabeth Seitz, Pauline Schäfer, Sarah Voss, and Kim Bui in the final meet of her career while Emma Malewski rounds them out, I can see the Germans putting together a brilliant campaign.
Teams like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Hungary are typically those you can expect to see in or around the top eight, but while none of these are at full strength right now, on paper the athletes competing for all three can do big things, and I think the only way they don’t qualify to worlds is if they absolutely fall apart in tomorrow’s competition.
The biggest point of consideration here is that while these teams may not have some of their star performers – Nina Derwael is still out for Belgium at the moment, for example, while the Netherlands and Hungary are mixing experienced competitors with up-and-coming talent – what matters is that they’ll still be top-performing teams compared to the majority of others in the mix. Though Belgium recently had a weak performance at a friendly meet, if the team – which features three of its four 2020 Olympians along with two Olympic alternates – can hit, they should be in the top eight.
But while Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hungary all have top-eight potential, it’ll come down to whether they can withstand the pressure of being back in major competition for the first time in a year that will determine if they can maintain that top-eight cred.
The Bubble Teams
We’ve talked about seven teams so far that I think should definitely or almost definitely make it to worlds, which leaves six spots left, and I have a few bubble teams in mind that I think should be most capable of getting in, as well as a few that are really exciting programs to watch this season and could possibly make magic happen in Munich.
Romania is potentially the strongest among my bubble programs, though I of course have a lot of fear, especially seeing that Silviana Sfiringu is now out of the competition, leaving it all up to the four remaining athletes to keep cool and confident under the massive pressure of bringing the senior program back to international relevance. The talent is there, but there have already been a number of moments this year where the Romanians have buckled under stress, so while I think they can make worlds – and potentially even the team final at Euros – happen, it’ll be a nail-biter for sure.
There are a few traditionally strong European teams here that are going to be a bit behind this season compared to previous years, including Ukraine, Spain, and Switzerland. I still have all three as bubble teams rather than in my “not likely” category, but it won’t be as easy at it’s been in previous years, with Ukraine – held back by a number of veterans not competing this season as well as by the obvious strain of the country having been under siege for six months – in the most precarious situation.
As for some exciting up-and-comers, we’ll have Nordic fan faves Finland and Sweden coming in hot. Finland has its strongest team in history, complete with three Yurchenko 1½s on vault – not bad for a team that only a few years ago didn’t have a single Yurchenko full. It’s a pretty well-balanced team as well, with beam the only apparatus that makes me a bit nervous, though they should bring in some good scores there with hits. Sweden, meanwhile, is coming off of a Nordic Championships win, which the team achieved without Tonya Paulsson, who has been injured but will be back for the all-around here. I think both have a ton of potential, and can see things working out for them if qualification day ends up being a good one.
My final maybes are Turkey, Austria, and the Czech Republic. All three will be held back a bit by difficulty and lack of depth, but all three have core routines that could keep them afloat if stronger teams falter. Turkey is overall solid on vault and floor, with a few other standout routines in the mix, while Austria, despite missing a few key routines from veterans like Elisa Hämmerle and Marlies Männersdorfer, is looking a lot more balanced than we’re used to seeing them, and the Czech team has five athletes all capable of contributing on multiple events, showing a level of depth that is often elusive for this program.
Not As Likely
Two of my “not likely” teams are Croatia and Slovenia, which traditionally are teams bolstered by solid one- or two-event specialists but not enough balance from apparatus to apparatus. This year, however, both teams have young senior all-arounders in the ranks to fill out a few of those iffy spots, especially on bars. If any of the teams in this group surprise, my money would be on one of these two.
I’m also really into Norway and Denmark this year, and while these programs aren’t as strong as their Scandinavian buddies Finland and Sweden, both have great all-arounders and key routines that could give them a boost, though I don’t think they have the depth to give them the push they need as a team.
Israel is a big question mark for me, mostly because I don’t think I’ve really seen the majority of these athletes in bigger meets this season, though Ofir Netzer and Lihie Raz are excellent and could lead the team to a strong finish. I feel similarly about Ireland, which has Emma Slevin and recent transfer Halle Hilton, once a junior standout for Great Britain who should bring big scores on all four events (though beam is where she shines), but likely won’t bring in enough scores from every athlete to make a major impression in the standings.
The teams left over – Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Portugal, and Slovakia – all have excellent individual competitors and standout routines in the mix, but like all of the others on this list, they lack the depth required to upset any of the bubble teams.
The Individual Qualifiers
It’s hard to say who will qualify as an individual, since the individual qualifiers depend on which teams qualify, so I’ll go through all of the likely, bubble, and not as likely teams to talk about every must-watch athlete, and will also discuss the athletes competing here individually.
- Austria: Veteran Jasmin Mader is just back from a knee injury and doing the all-around for the first time since nationals in the summer of 2021, so it’s hard to say how she’ll look doing all four events now, but if she’s at even 75% strength I’d say it won’t be an issue. There’s also this year’s national champion Carina Kröll, who changed her nationality late last year after representing Germany for six years at the senior level, who could also make worlds happen should her team not make it.
- Azerbaijan: Both Samira Gahramanova and Milana Minakovskaya are expected to compete in the all-around here, but I think earning a worlds spot could be tough for either based on how they’ve scored in the past.
- Belgium: Both of Belgium’s all-arounders here – Noémie Louon and Lisa Vaelen – are easily capable of earning all-around scores that should qualify them to worlds, so if the team situation doesn’t work out, Belgium will almost certainly get two individuals to Liverpool.
- Bulgaria: The only senior representing Bulgaria in Munich is Valentina Georgieva. Known for her big, clean vaults, making that final will be a big goal for Georgieva, but she’s also made lots of strides on the other apparatuses, and I can definitely see her earning an all-around spot at worlds.
- Croatia: Veteran Petra Furac, who won the national all-around title this year, is competing all four events along with young seniors Sara Sulekic (the 2020 European silver medalist on bars as a junior) and Nika Kukuljan Frleta, neither of whom competed in the all-around at nationals. All three are capable of similar all-around scores, but they typically max out at around a 46 or so, and I don’t see more than one making it to worlds.
- Cyprus: Only Tatiana Bachurina is competing for Cyprus here, and with scores typically in the low 40s, it’ll be tight for her to squeeze into the worlds picture, especially if a number of stronger programs end up taking two spots apiece.
- Czech Republic: 2022 national champion Klara Peterkova, 2020 Olympian Aneta Holasova, and Dominika Ponizilova will all compete in the all-around here, and I think if the program doesn’t qualify a full team, they definitely are capable of getting two athletes to worlds. Peterkova has looked excellent this year, but the two veterans can be just as good, so it’ll come down to how they all hit tomorrow.
- Denmark: The no-brainer here is Camille Rasmussen, who has won the national all-around title every year since she was 12, and most recently won the all-around silver at Nordic Championships. She’s one of my absolutes for qualifying to worlds, while the team’s other all-arounder, Freja Petersen, could be borderline.
- Finland: It looks like Rosanna Ojala isn’t set to compete on any of the apparatuses tomorrow, while the other four are all set to compete all four events. With that being the case, if Finland does not qualify a full team, I would go with Maisa Kuusikko as definitely making it, but things could get really interesting between Ada Hautala, Sani Mäkelä, and Kaia Tanskanen, though the latter two should have an edge on vault, especially as Hautala hasn’t been as strong this year as she has been previously.
- Georgia: The program’s sole competitor, Ani Gobadze, will be a long shot for qualifying as an all-arounder, especially as she hasn’t yet done a complete all-around performance in over a year…but she could be a maybe if she puts it all together when it counts.
- Greece: Elvira Katsali and first-year senior Areti Pagoni are the two all-arounders for Greece, and I don’t see either as being capable of the scores to qualify here, though if Katsali can stay on beam, she could score well enough to get close.
- Hungary: Should Hungary not qualify a full team, two-time Olympian Zsofia Kovacs will pretty much certainly get an all-around spot, as should first-year senior (and 2020 junior Euros beam and floor medalist) Greta Mayer, while Mirtill Makovits – typically known for her talent on bars – will also be in the mix for a second spot should either of the top choices falter.
- Iceland: There are three all-around hopefuls for Iceland, including the recently un-retired Agnes Suto, along with Hildur Gudmundsdottir and Thelma Adalsteinsdottir, who had the country’s top finish at Nordic Championships and could be the best chance the country has for worlds.
- Ireland: Both Emma Slevin, one of the most talented all-arounders in Ireland’s recent history, and Halle Hilton, the former British junior standout with a brilliant beam, have the potential to qualify for worlds, and I think both of them could have the scores to make it happen.
- Israel: 2020 Olympian Lihie Raz has looked excellent this year and I think she’ll get a worlds bid, with Ofir Netzer – who trains in Spain and has done some great work in some of the league competitions this season – capable of similar scores and also full of potential to get in.
- Latvia: The Latvian team here is super young and inexperienced, and I don’t think any of the all-arounders – Anastasija Ananjeva, Anna Locmele, and Arina Olenova – have the scores to advance beyond this meet, but if anyone could get close, I’d bet on first-year senior Ananjeva.
- Lithuania: Sole competitor Ula Bikinaite doesn’t have a ton of experience, and unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll have the scores to contend here, though I’m excited to see how she looks in her first major competition in several years. Maybe she’ll be a surprise!
- Luxembourg: Also the only athlete for her program, Celeste Mordenti has some great routines in her program and I think could be on the bubble for qualifying to worlds as an individual.
- Malta: I think both of the athletes from Malta are pretty hit-or-miss, with first-year senior Tara Vella Clark a very exciting up-and-comer with tons of talent on beam, though unfortunately she tends to fall behind on other apparatuses. Also competing is Ella Borg, who won the national title this year, but I think her overall difficulty could put her a bit behind.
- Monaco: I haven’t seen anything this year from Joana de Freitas, but in the past she’s been capable of scores in the low- to mid-40s, which could be a bit too far behind to qualify.
- Netherlands: Two-time Olympian Vera van Pol leads this team, and should the Dutch program not get a full squad to Liverpool, it’ll be between her, 2022 national champion Naomi Visser, and Tisha Volleman up for the all-around spots, and I’d bet on the latter two to make it based on how they’ve all looked this season.
- Norway: NCAA-bound Julie Madsø has been a tremendous all-arounder for Norway this year, winning both the national title and the Nordic title, where she surpassed a 50 for the first time in her career. She’s on track to qualify an individual spot at worlds, while Juliane Tøssebro and Maria Tronrud could battle it out for a second spot, with both capable of getting there.
- Poland: The Polish team was hoping to have three all-arounders putting up team scores, but a knee injury for Wiktoria Lopuszanska in podium training means only two athletes will compete. Brygida Urbanska and Emilia Kulczynska are on pretty equal ground, but could be right on the bubble of qualifying.
- Portugal: Top all-arounder Filipa Martins isn’t competing all four events here, and she didn’t compete in the world cup series, which means – sadly – there won’t be any worlds for her this year. Mafalda Costa, Mariana Parente, and Lia Sobral are the three all-around contenders, but I think the team will only get one (at most) to Liverpool, in which case I’d bet on Costa or Sobral.
- Romania: With Silviana Sfiringu out, it means the other four will all compete all four events. Should they not end up making it as a team, I think Ana Barbosu and Ioana Stanciulescu have the best potential to qualify as individuals, and I do think both would get there. But should either of them not perform at full potential, it could be tricky to see if either Andreea Preda or Antonia Duta could take their place, as both have scored only in the mid-40s as all-arounders this season.
- Slovakia: With two-time Olympian Barbora Mokosova not competing all four events here, it leaves things to Radoslava Kalamarova and Sara Surmanova to step up as the country’s top all-arounders, and though Surmanova hasn’t done the all-around in a while, she could potentially get a score that could be on the borderline for advancing.
- Slovenia: The only all-arounder competing for Slovenia this year is Zala Trtnik, a first-year senior who got awesome all-around scores as a junior, though an injury this year has kept her mostly to bars. I think if she can come back at full strength, she’ll get to worlds, though I’m bummed that Lucija Hribar – who has been crushing it as an all-arounder this year – unfortunately won’t be doing floor here.
- Switzerland: National champion Lilli Habisreutinger will be one of Switzerland’s all-arounders, and she is definitely capable of qualifying to worlds on a good day, while Anina Wildi also has the potential to get there, though it’s hard to say right now if this program could get both individuals to Liverpool should they not qualify a team.
- Sweden: Three of Sweden’s four competitors are doing the all-around here, including Nathalie Westlund, who recently won a friendly meet in Belgium with a 50.950, which should be more than enough to get a worlds bid if the team doesn’t make it. Tonya Paulsson should also be well within qualifying range, and I’m betting on these two going together, while Alva Eriksson could potentially be a backup for either if she can hit at a hundred percent.
- Spain: If Spain doesn’t qualify to worlds as a team, they have three all-arounders in the mix for individual qualification, and I think two could get there. Laura Casabuena has really stepped up this year as someone with tons of potential, while 2020 Olympian Alba Petisco should also take a spot, and then Emma Fernandez is my backup.
- Turkey: 2020 Olympian Nazli Savranbasi is only competing one event here, leaving it to Sevgi Kayisoglu, Bilge Tarhan, and Bengisu Yildiz as the three all-around options. I think at least one could make it…they’re all pretty more or less on the same page, but with max potential around a 47 or 48 for all three, I don’t know if more than one would make it.
- Ukraine: The top competitor for Ukraine should be 2021 world all-around finalist Yelizaveta Hubareva, and if she can’t lead the program to a team spot in Liverpool, she’ll definitely make it as one of the top individual qualifiers. Strong beam worker Yuliia Kasianenko could also be in the mix with hit routines, as could veteran Valeriia Osipova, but it’s hard to say if either will be in all-around contention given that they’ve been pretty hit-or-miss this season.
Prelims for the senior competitors take place across four subdivisions held on Thursday, August 11, with the full schedule listed below. You can watch the competition on Eurovision Sports Live, while live scores will be available via the Munich 2022 website, and start lists are available thanks to European Gymnastics.
Here’s the complete qualifications schedule, along with a breakdown of who you can find in each subdivision. All times are local to Munich (GMT+2), which is 6 hours ahead of ET.
|THURSDAY AUGUST 11|
|10:00 am||SUBDIVISION 1
Austria, Croatia, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Turkey
|12:24 pm||SUBDIVISION 2
Cyprus, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sweden
|3:28 pm||SUBDIVISION 3
Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Denmark, Georgia, Iceland, Monaco, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine
|5:53 pm||SUBDIVISION 4
Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland
Article by Lauren Hopkins
5 thoughts on “Final World Championships Berths Decided Tomorrow in Munich”
Oh! What happened to Silviana?
Not sure, didn’t hear about new injuries, but Silviana hasn’t really been scoring higher than Duta’s or Preda’s this season due to her injury last year. It could just be Romania being Romania (Ever since 1996, they have been keen to sending a minimal number of gymnasts doing all events / 3 events than distributing events across the team)
Thanks. Am still very hopeful for Romania. They just seem to be prone to misfortunes of different sorts lately, including injuries and nerves/breaking under pressure. They are otherwise promising, very promising. And I hope they can get everything together soon, including avoiding injuries and such setbacks as well as improving their difficulty and execution scores.
For this Euros and Worlds, am quite hoping and praying for Romania as always. 😀
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Lauren, thank you for such a good, comprehensive breakdown as usual! It’s really appreciated and I’m sure other gymnerds will agree.
Also, are you thinking of bringing back your You Asked It series? I really miss it!