First podium session for seniors in Antwerp

Elien Van Deynse   ‐  Woensdag 11 apr 2018

Let's Team Up!

After the World Age Group Competitions Belgium is also hosting the World Championships. From April 13th til April 15th worlds best gymnasts will show off in the Lotto Arena. Today they all came in for their first podium session!

Yesterday a fantastic final concluded the 10th World Age Group Competition, but there’s no time to rest. Today we had the first sneak-peak of what we can expect on Friday, during the first day of qualifiers for the World Championships. Other than the Age Group competitors, the seniors get two days for podium training. It is without a doubt going to be an amazing event. Firstly, because as we’ve seen in the Age Group competitions, other countries have become to challenge the Slavic dominance and in each category, with every routine and every single score, the tables can turn.

Over the last couple of cycles the sport has developed and new trends in artistry as well as the creative approach to elements, mounts and dismounts as well as refreshing twists to well-known elements. Secondly, because this year we’ve got not only defending World Champions from Putian, but also reigning European Champions and World Games winners competing against each other. There are certainly some big names to watch out for. The number of participating nations is much smaller than in the 10th WAGC. Over the 3 days of the World Championships competition we will watch partnerships from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Portugal, People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus, France, Australia, Azerbaijan, China, Great Britain, USA, Russia, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Poland, Spain and Israel. With 7 teams in the competition Russia has the highest number of participating partnerships.

It is impossible to name the highlights of today. Mainly because everyone, who qualified to represent their country in the World Championships, truly deserves to be here and we’ve seen it clearly in the podium training. We’ve seen some big names and other gymnasts, who are still waiting for their big moment. Therefore, in today’s highlights we made you a comparative list of the Champions and title winners from the last couple of years to remind you about their biggest successes.

In the Women’s Pairs competition we will see the Russian pair Daria Kalinina and Daria Guryeva, defending World Champions and World Games Champions. As their strongest rivals, the Belgian Pair of Noémie and Lore had to pull out due to Noémie’s injury and Lore has decided to retire, there will certainly be some surprises in this event.

The Mixed Pair event will give us the answer to the burning question: Will Marina Chernova become the first ever gymnast to become the World Champion for 3 consecutive Championships? The 22-year old gymnast won her first title in 2014 World Championships in Levallois, France, with the legend of Russian Gymnastics, Revaz Gurgenidze. She then defended the title in 2016 in Putian (China) with new Partner, Georgy Pataraya. They’ve also won Gold in the European Games in Baku (2015) and the World Games in Wroclaw (2017), proving they are invincible in their category. Will they make history here in Antwerp?

We will also see Artur Beliakou and Volha Melnik, who were the World Games silver medallists. The last pair of familiar faces are Poland’s Maciej Zabierowski and Angelika Kowalewska, who competed in 2015 in Baku and finished 7th overall. Finally, it will be the first Senior World Championships event for the 13-19 European Age Group Competition winners, Bram Roettger and Marte Snoeck. How will they do in the Senior competition? Will they win another medal for Belgium in front of their home audience?

2017 World Games Champions, Germany’s Michail Kraft and Tim Sebastian will face the silver medallists and 2016 defending Champions from Russia - Igor Mishev and Nikolay Suprunov. World Games bronze medallists, home nations Robin Casse and KiIlian Goffaux are also hungry for the World Champions title and will definitely fight for it fiercely. Finally 4th in Putian and in the World Games, China’s Li An and Linghzi Xiang will fight fiercely not to let anyone take the medal away from them this time. In this competition we will also see a relatively new Men’s Pair Charlie Tate & Adam Upcott, part of the Great Britain’s Men’s Group, who were crowned 2017 World Games Champions. We can be sure of only one thing in the Men’s Pair event – with so many big names competing, nothing is certain.

The Men’s Group Event the situation would have been similar to the Men’s Pairs – defending World Champions going against their World Games rivals and Champions – Great Britain. But the British Group has retired, leaving a clear way for the Chinese group to sweep another Championship. But the World Games bronze medallists from Israel are also here, as well as the Russian and Ukrainian groups, who will for sure try the best to challenge the reigning Champions.

Finally in the Women’s Group Events we will also see reigning World Games Champions from Russia Daria Chebulanka, Polina Plastinina and Kseniia Zagoskina and silver medallists from Belarus - Julia Ivonchyk, Veranika Nabokina, Karina Sandovich, but none of the other finalists of either 2016 Putian Championships and 2017 World Games are here so in this competition truly anything can happen.

In the senior event there will be 15 medals to win. Who will top up their medal total? Will any new countries appear in the medal table? We shall see.