Olympic Berths, World Cup Glory Up For Grabs In Doha

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The end of a long Olympic qualification for apparatus specialists is in sight at this weekend's Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, which will determine 20 newly-minted Olympians heading for Paris Games 2024.
Throughout the series, which has included stops in Cairo, Cottbus, and Baku, hopefuls not yet qualified for Paris have earned Olympic qualification ranking points based on their placements on each apparatus. The two gymnasts with the highest points score on each apparatus book
a ticket to the Games, with the best three rankings points scores counting toward the final total. A maximum of one place per apparatus can be secured by the same nation.
It is that last detail - room for a gymnast to drop their worst performance - that changes the Olympic qualification dynamic and makes Doha leg such a pivotal competition. Seven gymnasts, including Tokyo Olympic Uneven Bars champion Nina Derwael (Belgium) and 2019 Junior World Floor Exercise champion Ryu Sunghyun (South Korea), have mathematically secured their Olympic tickets. At the end of the weekend, 13 more will join them - and competition for each place is stiff. Heading into a monumental weekend for Gymnastics, here is how things stand.
Men's Floor Exercise
Five men are contending for the second spot in Doha. The leader among them is Yahor Sharamkou (Belarus), which is astonishing considering that his 50 points come from two World Cups only. After winning Floor Exercise in Baku, another high quality performance will put him over the top, though Benjamin Osberger (France), Aurel Benovic (Croatia), Yuri Guimaraes (Brazil), and Diorges Escobar (Cuba) are all still in the race too.
Pommel Horse
Two men who are registered for Doha are still swinging in what has been one of the most closely-fought contests for Olympic qualification. Two-time World medallist and Cairo champion Ahmad Abu al-Soud (Jordan) is guaranteed a ticket to Paris, but the second berth is still up in the air between Nariman Kurbanov (Kazakhstan) and Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Lee Chih-Kai (Chinese Taipei).
Still Rings
Eight years after breaking his leg vaulting during qualification at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Samir Ait Said (France) is this close to heading to his home Games. He has been the most consistent through the qualification events, but he needs another big performance if he is going to get across the finish line in the top two. The biggest threats come from Nikita Simonov (Azerbaijan), Vahagn Davtyan (Armenia), and Arthur Avetisyan (Armenia). Cairo champion Ryong Jong-il (North Korea) started the series strong and faded, but he too could get a spot if he were to win and others did not improve their positions.
Men's Vault
Among the tightest of the Olympic races, six men are vying for the two places. Only two of them - leader Mahdi Olfati (Iran) and Shek Wei Hung (Hong Kong) - have achieved the maximum 30 ranking points, and Shek has done it twice. Both will be looking over their shoulders in Doha at Tseng Wei-Sheng (Chinese Taipei), who has only done two World Cups but had excellent results at both, and James Bacueti (Australia) who stands the best chance of grabbing a spot should either of the top two fold. Benovic and Trinh Hai Khang (Vietnam) are still in the running as well.
Parallel Bars
World Junior Parallel Bars champion Angel Barajas (Colombia) is ahead of seasoned teammate Jossimar Calvo (Colombia), but only one of the Colombians can go through. That's good news for Rasuljon Abdurakhimov (Uzbekistan) and Cameron-Lie Bernard (France), both of whom are within striking distance of the top two.
Horizontal Bar
Tang Chia-Hung (Chinese Taipei) won in in Cairo and Cottbus with his new routine that put him over the top. Right behind him is Robert Tvorogal (Lithuania), determined to avenge his disappointment from Tokyo. Trailing at a distance are Barajas and 2019 World champion Arthur Mariano (Brazil).
Women's Vault
This one at least is simple: An Chang Ok (North Korea) and Valentina Georgieva (Bulgaria) have mathematically gathered enough points to qualify to the Olympics.
Uneven Bars
Eleven gymnasts could mathematically qualify for the Uneven Bars places. Among those with the most to gain is Georgia-Rose Brown (New Zealand), who leads with 50 points despite not having scored in Baku. Jennifer Williams (Sweden), who left Cottbus without Olympic qualification points, is presently tied with Vanesa Masova (Czech Republic) with 48 points, just two shy of Brown's 50. Nathalie Westlund (Sweden) also stands to make big gains.
Balance Beam
With Derwael having gathered the maximum of 90 points with her three World Cup victories, there is one spot left on Balance Beam and eight gymnasts could grab it. Competition is tight between Williams, Ting Hua-Tien (Chinese Taipei) and Laura Casabuena (Spain), all of whom are within 13 points of each other.
Women's Floor Exercise
Topping the Floor Exercise ranking after three events, Charlize Moerz (Austria) already has mathematically secured her spot. This leaves the second space between Casabuena, Emma Malabuyo (Philippines) and Sevgi Kayisoglu (Turkey). Malabuyo leads in the standings, but her 69 points is based on three competitions; Casabuena's and Kayidoglu's totals are based only on two.
Ready to host the event, says al-Hitmi Ali al-Hitmi, Chairman of the Championship Organising Committee, said all things are in place for the tournament
start:“We are happy to host the major tournament
for the 16th time in a row, and there is great work from all the committees participating in the organisation to produce the current version in the best possible way.”
He added:“During this championship and the championships previously hosted by Qatar, we seek to spread the culture of gymnastics, and this is the goal that the federation has been working toward since its establishment in 2001.”


Gulf Times

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