The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

World Championship Roster Updates

With podium training beginning in 10 days and the competition in 12 days, the FIG has released an updated nominative roster for the world championship. So here’s what we learned:

  • Kasahara Arisa is gone from the Japanese women’s team. Kasahara won the All-Japan Championship early this year and was 2nd overall at the end of NHK, securing herself one of the automatic spots on the team as part of the process that had originally excluded world beam champion Ashikawa Urara. Now, alternate Watanabe Hazuki (4th place AA after NHK) moves up a spot, and Ashikawa moves onto the traveling team of six by virtue of being the next gymnast who adds the most to a team score. Bringing Ashikawa’s beam into the actual team would indeed add more to the team score than Watanabe’s, but Watanabe also brings a bars routine in case you’re too scared of having to count Miyata—who can score well but is 1-for-4 on bars this year—which mitigates how much Ashikawa is adding.
  • A Canadian women’s roster shakeup has seen Commonwealth bronze medalist Emma Spence move onto the team in place of national champion Rose Woo. So now that’s the US champion, the European champion, the All-Japan champion, and the Canadian champion out of worlds. Spence is probably the better like-for-like replacement for Woo than the listed alternate Laurie Denommée (Spence adds a few more tenths to the team score than Denommée), so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Spence move all the way onto the team.
  • The German women have made their team official with Elisabeth Seitz, Pauline Schäfer, and Emma Malewski joined by Anna-Lena König and Karina Schönmaier in the wake of Kim Bui’s retirement and Sarah Voss’s injury (and Seitz having only competed vault and bars so far this year). Schönmaier’s Yfull got the highest vault score at Germany’s worlds trial, and König’s 12.733 was the highest floor score, which are largely the results that got them onto the team, but we’ll probably see quite a bit of both of them at worlds given the event limitations of everyone else.
  • The Belgian women have also made their team official with Nina Derwael, Maellyse Brassart, Noemie Louon, Lisa Vaelen, and Jutta Verkest as the five and Ylea Tollet as the alternate. We have not seen Derwael compete since the Olympics (she was a late scratch in Paris), so podium training should be interesting.
  • The British have now placed Poppy-Grace Stickler in the alternate position rather than Ellie Downie, who was listed as the alternate on the first roster.
  • Italy has added Caterina Cereghetti as the 6th member of the team, replacing the injured Angela Andreoli, though an official team announcement has not yet been made following this weekend’s national championship. There’s not really anyone left who would contribute counting scores to the D’Amato/Maggio/Villa/Esposito/Mandriota team even if one of them goes down, so the alternate positions is sort of…who wants a tripppp?
  • Paulina Vargas has been replaced on Mexico’s team of six by Valentina Melendez. Switching out Vargas with original alternate Cinthia Ruiz only costs the team a couple tenths (and Ruiz can increase the vault score a little), so this shouldn’t change overall expectations much.
  • Nicole Diaz of Puerto Rico will take the all-around qualifier spot vacated by Tyesha Mattis.
  • Malva Wingren replaces Maya Staahl on Sweden’s team of five. I was a bit surprised to see Staahl on the original team because the addition of Wingren adds more than a point to the potential team score. We’re all surprised and glad Sweden is actually sending a full-size team.
  • Rings specialist Ali Zahran has appeared on Egypt’s updated team in place of this year’s African pommel horse silver medalist Abdelrahman Abdelhaleem.
  • The Chinese men have moved Asian champion and 2021 PBars bronze medalist Shi Cong onto the squad in the 6th position, replacing national floor silver medalist Su Weide. Both are still part of the traveling training squad with a final decision yet to be made. The Chinese women’s team remains unchanged with Tang Xijing, Wei Xiaoyuan, Zhang Jin, Ou Yushan, and Luo Rui as the five and He Licheng as the alternate, but all six and Sun Xinyi still remain in the mix.
  • Yunus Gündogdu has been added to Turkey’s team in place of Kerem Sener. Gundogdu’s best asset is that he could provide a rings score in the absence of the injured Ibrahim Colak, though Turkey’s team plan will basically be to get everything they can out of Önder, Asil, and Arican.
  • Iran’s Mahdi Ahmad Kohani is out of the men’s all around, replaced by Lais Najjar of Syria who was the next in line from the Asian Championships.
  • Ireland’s Ewan McAteer is now in the all-around, replacing teammate Daniel Fox who had originally qualified. McAteer was one-per-country-ed out of the worlds spots at Euros.

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