The second day of qualifications at the world cup in Cottbus came with a mix of expected results and big surprises, especially as Carlos Yulo of the Philippines was left out of the vault final after not making any in his attempts on day one, though he showed up looking solid on parallel bars to take a narrow lead there, while world champion Artur Davtyan topped vault qualifications and world finalist Carlo Macchini was best on high bar.
Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, Italy’s domination gave way to Japan, as Okamura Mana snagged the lead on beam while Kokufugata Azuki earned the top spot on floor, with both women truly impressing in their senior international debuts.
With 41 athletes attempting to reach the final on beam in Cottbus, it meant even some excellent routines were sadly left out. Okamura Mana of Japan, a newcomer on the international scene, took the lead with a 13.666, partly thanks to a strong 5.7 D score. She was only slightly ahead of Ting Hua-Tien of Taiwan, who has come very close to making two beam finals at world championships, and who scored a 13.633 here, putting up a slightly stronger E score than the leader, though she was a tenth back in difficulty with a 5.6.
I was very excited to see Norway’s Maria Tronrud qualify third here, as her international scores always tend to be a bit lacking despite the quality of the routine she’s performing. She finally broke a 13 here for the first time in world-level competition, earning a 13.233 with the highest E score of the competition, upsetting many other top contenders, including 2021 world beam champion Ashikawa Urara of Japan, who sits in fourth with a 13.133.
Rounding out the field were Martina Maggio of Italy in fifth with a 13.033, Filipa Martins of Portugal in sixth with a 13.000 (her best international beam score since Universiade in 2017!), Dildora Aripova of Uzbekistan in seventh with a 12.966, and Ruby Evans of Great Britain in eighth with a 12.833.
It was a bummer to see Angel Wong Hiu Ying of Hong Kong miss out by just a third of a tenth, getting the first reserve spot with a 12.8. She had one of the top scores for a while, and based on how these world cups usually go, I thought a 12.8 would absolutely be enough to keep her in, but again with the depth here in Cottbus, she slowly moved lower and lower in the rankings until she finished just outside of them.
Other strong routines just on the outside of the top eight were Emelie Westlund of Sweden with a 12.733 and Sona Artamonova of the Czech Republic with a 12.733, with both of these athletes earning E scores in the 8.0 range. We also won’t see Anna Lashchevska of Ukraine in this final – it looks like she may have had mistakes here, as she finished just 21st with a 12.166, far below her potential.
WOMEN’S FLOOR EXERCISE
It was another lead for Japan here, with Kokufugata Azuki earning a 13.566 with the highest E score of the competition – an 8.366 – to leave the rest of the field behind her. Ruby Evans of Great Britain got close, though, earning a 13.5 for a routine that included a big double layout, while the Italians were right behind them, with Alice D’Amato in third with a 13.466 and Manila Esposito in fourth with a 13.333.
The other top competitors here were Tisha Volleman of the Netherlands with a 13.133, Poppy Stickler of Great Britain with a 13.066, and Anna-Lena König of Germany and Laura Casabuena of Spain tied in seventh place with scores of 13.0.
Coming in as reserves would be Laia Font of Spain with a 12.8 and Ashikawa Urara of Japan with a 12.666. Ashikawa had a great performance, but her difficulty was just a bit too far back to get her into the final, and the same goes for Dildora Aripova down in 15th with a 12.3, hitting great work but getting a three-tenth penalty for going out-of-bounds.
It wasn’t a surprise to see world champion Artur Davtyan of Armenia lead the field on vault. His average of 14.949 was more than three tenths ahead of the rest of the guys, thanks to a 14.766 for his first vault and then a 15.133 for his second. Both had D scores of 5.6, but his second vault’s execution was a massive 9.533, exactly the kind of perfection we’ve come to know from him here.
Behind him were Shek Wai Hung of Hong Kong with a 14.600 average and Artem Dolgopyat of Israel with a 14.516 average. Shek had the highest combination of difficulty at this meet, and did both of his attempts at a very strong level, while Dolgopyat was on the lower end of difficulty for those who made it into the final, though his difficulty was some of the highest we saw.
Also qualifying were Juancho Miguel Besana of the Philippines with a 14.433 average, Tom Schultze of Germany with a 14.416, Mahdi Olfati of Iran with a 15.166 (he had a massive 9.566 E score on his first vault, but fell on his second, so look for him to improve on this in the final and come in as someone with major medal potential), Tseng Wei-Sheng of Taiwan with a 14.266, and Illia Kovtun of Ukraine with a 14.166.
The biggest miss here was definitely Carlos Yulo of the Philippines, who had a rough first day on floor to miss that final as well. His first attempt here had only an 8.3 e score for a 13.9 total, but while he had improvements on his second vault, he only averaged a 14.083, which wasn’t enough to hold on. Adem Asil of Turkey and Igor Radivilov of Ukraine were the other big losses here, with both men having falls on their second vaults, while Audrys Nin Reyes of the Dominican Republic and Andrey Medvedev of Israel had the potential to make it as well, but they also counted falls. Another usual in the world cup finals is Ivan Tikhonov of Azerbaijan, but he missed his first vault, and so competed just a placeholder second vault knowing he was out.
This is the event where Carlos Yulo of the Philippines was finally able to get his meet back on track, putting up a 14.933 to take the lead over a super talented field on this apparatus. He managed to come just ahead of Illia Kovtun of Ukraine, who had a 14.900.
The rest of the athletes to make the final included Ferhat Arican of Turkey with a 14.700, Kaya Kazuma of Japan with a 14.666, Nils Dunkel of Germany with a 14.466, Ilias Georgiou of Cyprus with a 14.366, Matteo Levantesi of Italy with a 14.333, and Glen Cuyle of Belgium with a 14.033.
Landing in the reserve spots were Luka van den Keybus of Belgium, who had some of the highest difficulty in this field with a 6.0 but mistakes held him back to a 13.966, while Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania, typically a mainstay in the p-bars finals at world cups, was just slightly too far behind with a 13.866 despite a mostly good set.
Other notable misses include Stefanos Tsolakidis of Greece in 17th with a 13.066, Lee Chih-Kai of Taiwan in 25th with a 12.666, and Mitchell Morgans of Australia in 34th with an 11.833.
This was another field where tons of depth meant a few usual top qualifiers ended up missing out. Thankfully, Italy’s Carlo Macchini put on a strong performance to earn a 14.233, showing the highest difficulty and some of the highest execution as well.
The other top competitors were Kaya Kazuma and Kawakami Shohei of Japan, who had scores of 14.166 and 14.0, respectively. Illia Kovtun was a bit behind this group in terms of difficulty, but did great work to earn a 13.9, while Alexander Myakinin of Israel finished with a 13.7, Martijn de Veer of the Netherlands with a 13.566, Maxime Gentges of Belgium with a 13.466, and Mathias Philippe of France with a 13.433.
Unfortunately, Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan had a bit of a rough go in qualifications to end up 13th with a 12.933, while Tin Srbic of Croatia finished 15th with a 12.766 to also miss out, as did Mitchell Morgans of Australia, who was 22nd with a 12.333. I was also hoping to see Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania, Ilias Georgiou of Cyprus, and Akseli Karsikas of Finland get in, but they all ended up with mistakes here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins