Tel Aviv Challenge Cup (June 1-4)
The challenge cup circuit is currently enjoying its new stop in Tel Aviv, where qualification is complete and Georgia Godwin is in charge of everything, leading the standings on vault, bars, and floor and sitting in second on beam. Godwin also successfully performed the Weiler 1/1 in qualification, getting that named after herself.
The men’s field in Tel Aviv is remarkably small for a men’s challenge cup event (just 11-14 people on all the events, which is fairly normal for women’s events but low for the men), and missing Israeli stars like Dolgopyat and Medvedev, but the home hopes are leading a couple events, with Eyal Indig in first on horse and Pavel Gulidov in first on vault.
Osijek Challenge Cup (June 8-11)
Osijek follows Tel Aviv on the schedule and does look to have a heartier field, at least based on the nominative registration list. The list notably features Jade Barbosa, who has been out for about a year now, along with several other Brazilians who did not make appearances at the Pan American Championships like Lorrane Oliveira, Arthur Nory, and Arthur Zanetti.
All-Japan Event Championships (June 10-11)
The All-Japan Event Championship functions as the last decision-making stop in the quest to determine Japan’s worlds teams. For the women, Miyata Shoko, Kishi Rina, Fukasawa Kokoro, and Watanabe Hazuki have already locked their spots on the worlds team and are looking for one more sister to join them.
The final spot will be determined by whose best 2-score average (across 5 routines from both days of AA nationals, NHK, and both days of event nationals) adds the most to the team total when joining the named four. Right now, the frontrunner is 2021 beam champion Ashikawa Urara, who already has two beam scores in the 14s. Okamura Mana is not too far behind Ashikawa on beam and also has the potential for some other helpful scores, so keep an eye on that, while Sakaguchi Ayaka will be hoping to break out and get some big vault/floor numbers at the last minute to boost her chances of making it back to worlds.
The men’s process is slightly different with Hashimoto Daiki automatically making the team as world champion (he also won the AA at nationals/NHK so would have made it anyway). He is joined by Kaya Kazuma, who was the alternate on last year’s team, and Miwa Teppei, who got the other two automatic men’s spots after NHK. The remaining two spots will be determined after the event championships based on the same team score method, with one of the athletes having to come from the remaining top AA group of Chiba Kenta, Kawakami Shohei, Sugimoto Kaito, Tanigawa Wataru, and Tanigawa Kakeru, while the other can be anybody.
Asian Championships (June 15-18)
The Asian Championships will complete the process for worlds qualification this year, after which we’ll know everyone who has advanced to Antwerp. In addition to the actual spots awarded at the Asian Championships, this competition will have major ripple effects in the apparatus qualification race since many of the gymnasts currently in qualification positions are also among the top AA contenders in Asia and could qualify here instead.
In terms of the official Asian spots, 2 teams for both men and women will advance to worlds, along with 8 WAG all-arounders and 6 MAG all-arounders. Japan, having previously qualified both men’s and women’s teams to worlds, is not slated to send any women’s athletes for some reason. Oops, I’ve found a hole in your “making continental championships matter” strategy. China is also pre-qualified for both men and women, and South Korea is pre-qualified for men.
If last year is any indication, the South Korean women’s team should be a heavy favorite for one of the remaining women’s slots, while Taiwan took the other in 2022 by an 8-point margin, which…speaks well of their chances to repeat. Taiwan’s men’s team will expect to qualify in pretty smooth fashion (even though Tang Chia-Hung is not on this roster), and in 2022 they were joined by Milad Karimi’s Kazakhstan team.
In terms of rosters, new Chinese champion Qiu Qiyuan is scheduled to make an appearance on the women’s side, which should be a highlight. Let’s hope we can watch it. This year’s competition actually has a website, so I’m floored.
Meanwhile, Emma Malabuyo has confirmed her intent to represent the Philippines, but since she intends to compete only beam and floor, she would need the Philippines to qualify as a team in order to make worlds.
French Championships (June 16 & 18)
The French will crown their national champions this month, and Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos is indeed scheduled to compete alongside all the other members of France’s 2022 worlds team, Aline Friess, Coline Devillard, Carolann Heduit, and Marine Boyer, and 2023 Euros team members Morgane Osyssek, Djenna Laroui, and Silane Mielle.
Paul Degouy is the only one of the usual suspects missing from the men’s roster, which features worlds team members Benjamin Osberger, Cameron-Lie Bernard, Léo Saldino, Matthias Philippe, as well as familiar favorites like Samir Ait Said, Cyril Tommasone, and Loris Frasca.
Competition for the seniors begins at 5:45pm on the 16th, with finals scheduled to stream on the 18th at 2pm.
Dutch Championships (June 24-25)
The Dutch Championships will run over two days, with the all-around on June 24th and event finals on June 25th.
The big news out of Dutch gymnastics this week is word that Bart Deurloo has unretired with near Chusovitian speed, going less than four months before announcing his intent to return and vie for a spot on this year’s worlds team.