Presenting far more information than you need about every subdivision of women’s qualification at worlds.
October 27, 2:00am ET/11:00pm PT
Individuals from Algeria, Philippines, Guatemala, and Jordan
What to know
Team Belgium: After Belgium’s performance in qualification at the European Championship—defeating Great Britain and the Netherlands—it would be foolish to discount this Belgian squad’s chances to make the team final here, but it will be a difficult climb.
From the perspective of a neutral, having Belgium in the first subdivision is excellent because the team score will provide us with a team final cut-off standard as we watch the later contending teams compete. Any contender must beat Belgium’s score to be in with a shot.
The primary individual priority for Belgium will be getting likely gold medal favorite Nina Derwael into the bars final. Derwael and Axelle Klinckaert are both solid picks to make the all-around final, and Klinckaert has an outside shot at the floor final depending on how the days play out.
Team Argentina: Argentina has come on fiercely in the last year or so, turning itself into a team contender on the back of new senior Martina Dominici.
We haven’t typically given much time to Argentina’s team chances, but this year, the squad is very much in contention for a top-24 place (to advance as a team to 2019) with a solid qualification day. Still, Argentina is a cusp team, so it’s going to take a better-than-average performance. If Dominici is on, she’s also in the mix for making the all-around final, which would be a thing.
Team Poland: Poland is in a fairly similar position to Argentina in that a top-24 place is very possible, but definitely not a given if the team doesn’t hit the majority of its routines. Depth will be a concern as Poland is sending just four competitors, but with Janik’s all-around, the beam and floor of Pihan-Kulesza, and the beam of Jurkowska-Kowalska, the routines should be there for a competitive finish.
Team Latvia: Latvia is sending just three competitors. That would still be enough for a team score this year should they all compete the all-around, but it’s unclear whether the squad will actually do that. New senior Elina Vihrova hasn’t competed the non-bars events since last December.
Individuals: Jana Mouffok, whom we’ve seen at domestic French competitions before, will be representing Algeria for the first time here, Corinne Bunagan from ENA Paramus will be representing the Philippines once again, and Jordan is slated to send a competitor in Ruba Aldaoud. Ana Palacios of Guatemala finished 9th on floor at Pan Ams, breaking 13.
October 27, 4:00am ET/1:00am PT
Team South Korea
Team Costa Rica
Individuals from Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan
What to know
Team Japan: Despite the absence of Sae Miyakawa, Japan is fully expecting to make the team final here and contend for a team medal. Based on the scoring shown so far this year, Japan should have ample room for mistakes in qualification while still advancing to the team final.
Individually, Mai Murakami is quite possibly the best non-American contender in the all-around field and will be going for the medal that eluded her so heartbreakingly last year. Murakami should be joined in the AA by another top-10 qualifier from her own team, the question is, who? Who gets to do the all-around in the first place, and who will win the intra-Japan battle for the second spot in the final? My money is always on Asuka Teramoto, but Aiko Sugihara took 6th place in last year’s final, and Hitomi Hatakeda could be in there if she’s given the chance to do all the events instead.
On the apparatuses, Murakami will expect to make the floor final and can medal there, and it wouldn’t be worlds without Asuka Teramoto sneaking into the beam final even though you kind of forgot her there.
Team Australia: We’ve been patiently waiting for the triumphant Australian reemergence into the realm of the world’s best, but it looks like that will have to wait. This current Australian team is extremely injured, and the squad will be without Georgia Godwin, Rianna Mizzen, and Talia Folino in Doha—last year’s three worlds competitors. Australia is likely now just looking to make sure everything goes to plan so there’s no risk of being slammed outside the top 24, as well as getting Georgia-Rose Brown into the AA final, which is a possibility.
Team South Korea: South Korea comes in as yet another member of the peloton of borderline teams—one that will be looking to beat the marks established by Argentina and Poland in the first subdivision. That would make things look pretty encouraging for South Korea’s chances of team advancement. Individually, South Korea does have an event final (and potential medal) threat for vault in Yeo Seojeong, who has shown us a rudi lately that is EF-worthy.
Team Costa Rica: Costa Rica is fairly depleted, down to just three members on the latest nominative roster update, but you know, might as well go for a team score, right? We’ve seen all three team members compete all the events in the last several months, so it’s doable, even if some of those bars and beam scores are going be 8s.
Individuals: A plucky little nobody named Oksana Chusovitina will compete in this subdivision and is once again a compelling choice to make the vault final. The field being what it is this year, the handspring full and the Tsuk 1.5 should be enough to get her into the final.
October 27, 6:30am ET/3:30am PT
Team North Korea
What to know
Team Germany: Germany will certainly entertain hopes of erasing the frustration of Euros and advancing to the team final here, though it’s a tough ask. With Elisabeth Seitz, Sophie Scheder, and Kim Bui, Germany has one of the best bars teams in the competition—which can carry them pretty far—but the absence of Pauline Schäfer is troubling especially because this squad now features few (if any) Friends of Beam. That rotation will decide things.
Germany’s bars trio is capable of putting two people into the event final and potentially winning a medal if there are some misses from the other contenders, but bars is an extremely deep event this year. That final will be very tough to make, and some amazing bars workers will be left out. Look for Seitz to make the all-around final because Seitz, along with potentially either Bui or Scheder depending on who is selected to do all four in qualification.
Team Ukraine: It’s finally a good time for the Ukrainian women’s program again. The glow of that 5th-place finish in the European team final still lifts this squad, one that I now have no qualms about predicting as a top-24 team. Ukraine finished 27th four years ago and therefore missed out on qualifying to 2015, but with the addition of Diana Varinska, this year’s Ukrainian team is much stronger than that one.
Varinska qualified 7th into the all-around final last year and has the capability of repeating that kind of result should she manage not to Ukraine it. We’ve also seen big results from Varinska on bars and beam at world cup events, and while making a final at worlds is quite a step up from that, she did make the bars final last year and should be considered a possibility again this time.
Team Hungary: It looks like Hungary has suffered a serious blow. Boglarka Devai is off the nominative roster. The absence of Devai’s Cheng removes Hungary’s best event final opportunity and gives a flat tire to the team’s potential vault score, but I still like Hungary to finish comfortably within the top 20, with a pretty good shot at the top 15.
Zsofia Kovacs has returned to doing all four events, and if her routine composition is back to full strength, she should make the AA final here.
Team North Korea: If you’re looking for a surprise at this year’s competition, the new crop of North Koreans can provide it. This is a much fuller and more competitive team than we’ve seen from PRK in recent years when it was just Hong Un Jong’s vault and some random company players. If Asian Games is any indication, North Korea should place in the top 24 here.
Kim Su Jong is the team’s strongest all-arounder and will be looking for the nation’s best AA result since Hong Su Jong took 12th in 2007. Also be sure to keep track of the vaulting of Pyon Rye Yong, who is attempting to become North Korea’s new vault queen. She’ll throw out the huge difficulty. We just don’t know if…hitting.
Team Portugal: Portugal’s team of four is a borderline prospect but will be looking to pick off any of those cusp countries that suddenly find themselves counting some 10s on beam. Qualification isn’t out of the question. Filipa Martins is, of course, the most critical. A competitive team score may hinge on whether she’s doing all four pieces or sticking to bars and beam as she has the last few months. We’ve seen Martins make world AA finals before, so if she is doing all four, she’s in with a shot.
October 27, 8:30am ET/5:30am PT
Individuals from Sweden, Israel, and Qatar
What to know
Team Netherlands: The Netherlands is coming off an excellent bronze-medal showing at the European Championship, a result that should cultivate some optimism that the Netherlands could make another team final this year. The Dutch are among the contending sides to be sure, but fears are that the dual absences of Eythora Thorsdottir and Celine van Gerner will be just too much to overcome and that the Netherlands won’t have the third score on most events to get a truly competitive total.
In that regard, Naomi Visser is essential. If she’s able to procure the huge scores she did at a recent October friendly, then those fears may be unfounded.
Individually, the primary hope is of course Sanne Wevers as a medal favorite on beam, so she’ll need to get into that final during qualification. This isn’t a particularly all-around-based team, so that won’t be a major focus, but all three of Volleman, van Pol, and Visser are certainly capable of getting the kind of score necessary to qualify on a given day.
Team Colombia: Colombia has had a tough time in regards to top-24 qualification in recent quads. In 2010, Colombia was in with a shot, but a last-minute injury left the team short one routine on vault and floor. In 2014, Colombia finished 25th, one spot away. This year, Colombia is probably still an outsider (I don’t think the bars scores are there), but vault and floor from veterans Dayana Ardila and Ginna Escobar could carry them.
Team Austria: Just when it looked like everyone was getting healthy, Marlies Männersdorfer suffered an elbow injury in training and is out of worlds. It was going to be tough for Austria anyway (I had Austria in my 25th-30th group going in), but now it’s a lot tougher.
Team Belarus: The victory here is that Belarus is sending three whole seniors to this competition after opting out of seniors Euros this year and previously to that…Americans. One of the competitors, new senior Aliaksandra Netsiazhenka, just got her FIG license this month. Have to start somewhere.
Individuals: It’s all about the Swedes in the individual department here. Jonna Adlerteg is the European silver medalist on bars and has a shot to make that final here. Look for some solid scores from Castles and Torres here and there as well.
October 27, 11:00am ET/8:00am PT
Team United States
Team New Zealand
Individuals from Kazakhstan, Chile, Ireland, Cyprus, and Peru
What to know
Team United States: We all know the US is the favorite and will to win a ton of medals, but qualification may be the most fascinating part with regard to “second person” developments. Based on selection, McCusker currently looks like she has the inside track to be the second all-arounder for the US, but Hurd is also kind of the defending champion. Plus, McCallum has reached 57 this year and could absolutely Raisman this thing if she gets a shot to do all four in qualification. And who’s even the alternate? We’re going to have the typical tense scenario in US qualifying to see who makes the AA final with Biles. Even podium training is going to be real because we’ll get a glimpse at the lineup order.
Second-person questions extend to the events. McCusker looks like she has the best bars score for the US right now and can make that final if she keeps up with the high 14s. Can Biles join her? Will it be Biles and Eaker in the beam final, or will…literally any of the other team members outscore them? Because they all can get big beam scores. And who joins Biles in the floor final and becomes an automatic medal favorite? Much to watch for.
Team Slovakia: A depleted Slovakian team without Barbora Mokosova will probably not record a score here that gets in among the contenders for the top 24. Mokosova has been coming on strong this quad and was so close to making the all-around final last year—if not for a miss on beam. It’s a shame she won’t have a shot this time because it once again would have been a possibility.
Team New Zealand: We’re down to three competitors for New Zealand given the withdrawal of Caitlin Todd (and with Courtney McGregor not doing worlds this year), so the whole team of Brett, Fishwick, and Ryan will need to do the all-around to get a score now. Let’s hope so. There aren’t even that many teams we know will record team scores here, so just putting up scores could lead to a nice finish.
Individuals: I’m a bit disappointed that Chile is sending only Simona Castro because we’ve seen some really solid results from the whole team this year. They could have done well. Meaghan Smith will be here for Ireland, coming off her 22nd-place finish in the unofficial all-around at the European Championship.
October 27, 1:00pm ET/10:00am PT
Individuals from Vietnam, Bolivia, and Cayman Islands
What to know
Team Italy: The reappearance of Martina Basile and her potential presence on the team provides cause for a little more hope regarding Italy’s chances, but this is still a depleted side that may end up repeating the type of performances we saw at Euros. Right now, Italy is expected to finish outside the team final places, but really has no business going outside the top 12.
Individually, Lara Mori will carry the torch as a likely qualifier to the all-around final and a contender to make it back to the floor final following her 6th-place finish in 2017.
Team Norway: Like most of the Scandinavian teams, Norway is probably going to have too many 10s and 11s to get very close to the teams contending for the top 24. There’s a lot of quite similar scoring potential on the Norwegian team, but on her day, Thea Nygaard is the strongest one. She had to pull out of worlds at the last minute in 2017, so hopefully she’ll be able to compete this year.
Team Iceland: There’s far more ability on this Icelandic team than was reflected in the 9-fest that saw Iceland finish 22nd at Euros, so the team will be looking to improve upon those scores to make a more competitive argument in the battle for Scandinavian supremacy.
Team Jamaica: Is it OK if I’m just enjoying the possibility of Jamaica recording a team score at worlds? It would be a big step. The main goal will be trying to get Danusia Francis into the all-around final, which is going to be tough, but with a four-for-four hit is possible given the scores we’ve seen so far this year compared to the numbers it took to make the final last year.
October 28, 2:30am ET/11:30pm PT
Team South Africa
What to know
Team China: China will make the team final easily (even if our worst floor fears are realized), so like the other very top countries, qualification will be primarily about who makes which individual final.
If you’re looking for a new contender who can spoil the expected all-around medal party, Chen Yile is an important character in your life. She should advance to the final, and since Liu Tingting is just on bars and beam right now, I like Zhang Jin’s chances to make the AA as well. China will also expect to put two people in the bars final and potentially two in the beam final, with medal capabilities in both. Liu Jinru will be going for the vault final and has the difficulty to make the top 8 but probably not the execution to medal without help. We shall see.
Team Romania: The current situation has simplified the goal for Romania, which is now just making sure that the team places in the top 24. It appears Denisa Golgota will be able to compete, so that helps massively, but bars-disastering right out of contention is still a major fear.
Golgota won medals on both vault and floor at Europeans, so the best individual hopes for Romania will be getting Golgota into the all-around final, and an event final if things go really well. It will be tough for those in the DTY/Tsuk 1/1 crowd to get into the vault final, but there may be a 7th- or 8th-place qualifying spot open for one or two of them.
Team Finland: Finland has not been immune to the injury bug, with national AA champ Helmi Murto having to withdraw from the team. After a successful Euros, I really liked the idea of Finland as a dark horse for the top 24, and while I still kind of do, it would be a definite upset. Finland has a deeper supply of gymnasts than the other outside-looking-in European teams right now, which helps. They’re not stuck sending just four athletes.
Team South Africa: Aren’t you so glad there are byes in qualification at worlds this year? With the definitely only four teams and no individuals in this subdivision? Fun. South Africa has elected to send three gymnasts, the clear top-3 AA finishers from last month’s national championship, so we’ll hope that bodes well for getting a team score.
October 28, 4:30am ET/1:30am PT
Individuals from Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Singapore
Team France: Until about 30 seconds ago, France had settled into a position as a team final outsider, one that was probably going to finish about 11th and needed a lot of help to make the final. But now, I’m considering France one of the more comfortable favorites to advance to the team final and to do so without too much drama in qualification.
In the all-around, De Jesus Dos Santos is a real medal contender, and she should be joined by some countrywoman in the final, probably Boyer but potentially Charpy depending on how the day goes. De Jesus Dos Santos (floor) and Boyer (beam) are France’s best options for qualifying to event finals, and both can challenge for medals. France does also have some massive potential bars scores from DJDS, Bossu, and Charpy that can be added to the mix of the very deep bars group contending for that final.
Team Canada: Canada is among the realistic contenders to advance to the team final, which will be the primary goal of the qualification performance. It seems to me that it will come down to that third bars and beam score and whether there’s someone competitive to use there—or whether it’s more of an 11.233 situation. I’m no less worried about bars than I was when the team was announced. If Canada can get through bars in the first rotation, I start to like the chances for TF more because the floor scores really should be there.
Individually, Ellie Black. Black is a legitimate medal contender in the all-around once again this year and could make any event final you choose at random. Last year, she made three event finals and was a reserve on bars. The bars field should be too deep for Black this year, but the other three finals are definitely doable.
Brooklyn Moors made the AA final last year and could do so again this year (we’ll have to see who gets the call for all four in qualification). Mostly, she’ll hope to make it back to the floor final (and has the scores to do it). As for Olsen, with anything resembling her usual difficulty, she can make the vault final.
Team Malaysia: Malaysia is sending the exact same team to worlds this year as it did in 2015, the difference being this team of three is now capable of snatching a team score. It’s too much to expect Abdul Hadi to advance to the all-around final here, but she’ll be a treasure of the meet regardless.
Individuals: What is apparently the official southeast Asian subdivision also features individual athletes from Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, with Rifda Irfanaluthfi sure to be a fan favorite again.
October 28, 7:00am ET/4:00am PT
Team Great Britain
What to know
Team Russia: As with the US and China, team qualification is a given, so we’ll dispense with that and move on to the actual story in qualification, advancing to individual finals. Melnikova and Simakova are favored to make the all-around final, with Melnikova among the first tier of medal contenders if she continues to be New Consistent Melnikova. Alexeeva will join those two in competing the all-around in qualification and is very capable of two-per-country-ing out either of them, especially if things get all Russia on beam.
Expect Russia to go all in for the vault final with Akhaimova, Simakova, and Melnikova as options. Melnikova has had success in this department despite lacking the same first-vault difficulty, but that may be changing if her Cheng from training comes to fruition. Or is it a better idea to stick with the consistent options, at least for qualification?
Russia will also hope to put Mustafina and Melnikova in the bars final and Melnikova in the floor final. Beam…I mean Russia obviously has the potential to put two people in the final, but also the potential to put no people in the final and 17 people in the grave.
Team Great Britain: The situation will be a little more tense during qualification this year for Great Britain because—even though making the team final seems like a good bet—it’s not as sure a proposition as it has been in the immediate past. They can’t get away with a bunch of beam misses this time because there aren’t the floor scores to save the day.
The biggest unknown is Ellie Downie since we haven’t seen her on vault or floor since returning from injury. If she’s back to competing at her usual level on both events, she should make the all-around final quite comfortably and can get massive scores. I just fear that’s too much to ask too quickly. GB has others who can qualify to the AA in addition to Downie, determined mostly by whether Fenton or Simm is more trusted to do beam in qualification. (Kinsella is probably the best AAer of the three, but I don’t expect her to go on bars in qualification.)
In event finals, bars. Becky Downie is the big deal of course, with a medal a distinct possibility if she can hit that 6.6 routine, but GB has four potentially large bars scores on this team, contributing to how intimidating the whole bars field looks here.
Team Brazil: The 9th is the deepest and most interesting subdivision of the competition, and it’s quite conceivable that we could have three team final qualifiers out of this one session. With Saraiva, Andrade, Fidelis, and Barbosa, Brazil has a ton of internationally competitive routines and will like its chances to beat teams like Canada and Germany at this point. Qualification will still require a non-implosion on bars (a shocking proposition, I know), but there should be enough real-life 13s on this team to make a compelling case.
Saraiva and Barbosa can both make the all-around final, with Saraiva as a outside medal challenger if she’s locked in on those beam and floor routines, both of which are also good enough to make event finals. Fidelis took 4th on floor last year, and while she hasn’t had as healthy or strong a year in 2018, she’ll hope to peak for worlds and deliver a repeat performance.
Team Turkey: Much like the men’s team, the Turkish women’s side is an entertaining, fan-favorite bunch. Here, Turkey is looking to rebound from a disappointing European Championship that featured far too many 10s, particularly from Yilmaz and Uctas Sanli on beam in what could have been big routines. Turkey is still too light on depth to get a truly competitive team score—everything has to go perfectly and it rarely does—but the hope is growing.
Team Denmark: Denmark has fallen a touch behind the other Scandinavian teams, struggling at Euros with some sub-9 scores that put the team behind even an Austrian side that didn’t have enough vault scores. It was rough, so they’ll also be looking for a comeback here, even though the absence of typical contributor Linnea Wang leaves the squad with just four members.
October 28, 9:00am ET/6:00am PT
Individual from Syria
What to know
Team Spain: Spain will have been pleased with its European Championship performance, advancing to the team final with a squad that is almost the same as this worlds team. With that in mind, I can see Spain entertaining the possibility of a top-15 finish here, and the top 24 shouldn’t be a tough task at all.
Individually, Spain has some very nice routines that should score hearty 12s but that are not quite at event final level. I do expect Ana Perez to make the all-around again this year, and she may have a friend there in Rodriguez or Bonilla, both of whom have the potential to do it. Because of the distribution of strengths, I expect Spain to go with three AAers in qualification, so we may have an interesting intra-team fight there.
Team Mexico: For Mexico, this competition is about placing in the top 24, and I’m on board with that idea given what we’ve seen lately. Qualification to 2019 didn’t look super likely even six months ago, but the nationality switch from Frida Esparza and the return of Alexa Moreno makes me think this team can do quite well at worlds, even without Ahtziri Sandoval. If Esparza competes like she did at Pan Ams, she could even sneak into the AA final.
Team Switzerland: We should have a nice battle in this one between Mexico and Switzerland, two on-the-cusp teams going head-to-head attempting to crash what—at this point on the second day—will look like a mostly solidified top-24 group.
Switzerland is in this position because Steingruber is injured and can’t buoy all the event scores, but I do think Käslin and Meier should still be able to get the requisite numbers. Käslin would have to hit (and hit beam like she did at Euros qualification), but keep her in mind for the AA final.
Team Egypt: There’s not a ton of pressure on Egypt here because the team to place well enough to get the Africa continental spot at worlds next year, even if it doesn’t place in the top 24. Still, this Egyptian side is very capable of placing in the top 24, and you know they’d rather get that spot outright on merit rather than being handed it.
Team Serbia: I’m very pleased and surprised to see three whole Serbian athletes on the roster since we typically see exactly one at every major meet. Lately, the exactly one gymnast has been Tamara Mrdenovic, but she’s not competing this year, meaning that Serbia has just revealed for the first time that it not only has more than one gymnast but might actually have as many as four.
Individual: Syria is supposed to be sending a representative in Areej Alkhayat, so there’s something we don’t see every day.
October 28, 11:30am ET/8:30am PT
Team Czech Republic
Individuals from Croatia and Georgia
What to know
Team Czech Republic: No major powers are competing in the final subdivision, so our 24 could be locked before this group even begins. Yet, if anyone from this group breaks through, it will be a Czech Republic side that has shown moments of very competitive gymnastics this year and has a solid core in Holasova, Ponizilova, and Jirikova. I’d certainly put the Czechs in the mix. A problem for CZE in making the top 24 may be the withdrawal of Kristyna Brabcova from the latest nominative roster, someone who competed for counting scores on three events at Euros.
Team Greece: Four years ago, Greece snatched the final qualification spot at worlds with a team nearly identical to the one competing this year. I do worry, however, that this team is overspecialized, with Millousi showing two events and Plyta showing one. Because of that, Greece has lately ended up counting some really low scores, especially on the events those two don’t do, scores that immediately eliminate the squad from contention.
Team Taiwan:The Taiwanese squad gets bonus points from me for being one of those wayyyy outside contenders that is sending a full team of five nonetheless. Well done. Fang Ko Ching has emerged as the scoring leader of the group now (the only one who competed all four at worlds last year), and may come away with the team’s top score on all four pieces.
Team Slovenia: Slovenia’s team of four does feature enough gymnasts to get a team score despite the heavy specialization in the program, but as is typical, the major focus will be trying to get someone into the vault final. I expect that’s too tough to do at worlds (Belak just made the final at Euros while Kysselef was first alternate), but you never know.
Individuals: Ana Derek of Croatia, who will always be best known for her vault mishap at the Olympics, is back and will be lovely as always. In 2017, she was one of just 19 gymnasts to break 8.000 in E score on floor in qualification.
8 thoughts on “World Championships Qualification Preview”
Is it me or is there quite a lot of teams this year? Like more so than 2014? What happen to team vietnam?
it’s because three gymnasts count as a team now, when you needed at least four in 2014! many of those lower tier teams have three gymnasts
Interview in the Observer today has E Downie, Simm and Fenton in the AA for GBR.
Thank you for this update. PS I love the podcast you and Jessica do.
What is the significance of a team finishing in the top 24?
Finishing in the top 24 means they advance with a full team to the 2019 worlds, where they’ll be able to fight forms team spot at the Olympics.
“Russia obviously has the potential to put two people in the final, but also the potential to put no people in the final and 17 people in the grave.“
Just burst out laughing at that, thank you. Crossing my fingers for the first scenario.
I am rooting for China!! I don’t care if they have the floor difficulty, the have the SWAG (I mean elegance, well-choregraphed routines, and well-executed choreo).
Excited to see what North Korea will do, too! Their routines were a nice surprise at the asian games.
And I trust Russia to be more consistent than usual this year, because all team members seem mentally stable (there are no drama queens/big-egoed brats like Komova), which I’m sure will help. I’m Russian (native speaker) so that’s what I gathered from stalking them on Insta. A bunch of sweet girls who get along great (and Aliya as the tough leader).
I trust Melnikova for the AA, I dunno, she seems like a reasonable adult with a great mentality now. Just hope that she’s wise in terms of vault choice (as much as I’d love to see her do a Cheng, I’m not positive that she’s ready to compete it yet…
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