Reigning World champions the People’s Republic of China men’s team and the USA women’s team will renew their quests for gold in the middle of the pack as the 52nd FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp (BEL) commences 30 September.
The Chinese men will compete in Subdivision 4 of 6 and begin on Vault, while the USA women will be in Subdivision 2 of 10, starting on Uneven Bars, according to the results of the competition draw held at FIG Headquarters in Lausanne. The full results of the draw can be viewed here.
Revelations about the start lists for the first days of Qualifications at the World Championships were announced following the procedure, which was completed with the virtual attendance of Men’s and Women’s Technical Committee Presidents Arturs Mickevics and Donatella Sacchi.
While the competition orders for the eventual apparatus finals were also drawn, most of the focus at this point remains on the team and individual Qualifications, and with good reason: the Qualifications at this World Championships is of paramount importance for teams and individuals still hoping to earn their tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Antwerp, the final stop on the road to Olympic team qualification
The men’s and women’s Qualifications at the World Championships, 30 September-2 October, will determine the eight teams, 24 All-Around gymnasts, and eight gymnasts on each apparatus that will contend for the 14 World titles up for grabs in Belgium. Team finals will take place 3-4 October, All-Around finals will be 5-6 October and apparatus finals will happen 7-8 October.
Above that, the Qualifications will also determine the final men’s and women’s teams that will qualify to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. In Antwerp, the top nine not-yet qualified teams at the end of the Qualifications will earn quota places for the Games, cementing the 12-team roster that will compete for medals next summer in the French capital.
The Chinese, Japanese, and Great Britain men’s teams, and the USA, Great Britain, and Canadian women’s teams have already secured their places for the Games from last year’s World Championships. With 24 teams qualified for Antwerp mostly based on the results of this spring’s continental championships, that leaves 21 men ’s and women ’s teams each vying for the other nine Olympic places.
Teams hoping to qualify to the Games include the Chinese and Japanese women, both highly impressive at the 2022 World Championships, as well as Belgium, Italy, and host nation France. The Turkish men, who qualified four individuals to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, harbour high hopes of advancing to Paris as a team this time. Türkiye will compete in the first men’s subdivision, beginning on Floor Exercise.
Nations who do not qualify a team to the Games in Antwerp will not be totally shut out. The best three teams outside the top nine in Qualifications will also receive one non-nominative Olympic ticket for a gymnast from that nation. The National Olympic Committees in those countries will have the right to name the gymnast who gets that place.
How All-Arounders and Apparatus Specialists can get to the Games
In addition to teams, Olympic places are up for grabs for All-Around and Apparatus Specialists whose teams do not qualify in Antwerp. An additional 49 women and 40 men, who have qualified in the All-Around as individuals, will compete in separate groups in Qualifications. The best eight male and 14 female All-Arounders not on qualified teams will punch their tickets to Paris as well.
Additional individual berths to the Games will be available through continental events stretching into 2024, though the path narrows considerably after the World Championships.
Apparatus Specialists — gymnasts who will compete only on the apparatus for which they have qualified — were almost all confirmed for Antwerp last week, and among the prominent names are World Pommel Horse champion Rhys McClenaghan (IRL) and 2020 Olympic Horizontal Bar silver medallist Tin Srbic (CRO), as well as World Cup standouts Hillary Heron (PAN) and Nazanin Teymurova (AZE). For these specialists, the highest-ranked athlete in each apparatus final who has not qualified to the Games via another avenue will also advance to Paris. The last Olympic places for specialists (12 for men and 8 for the women) will be available through the 2024 FIG Apparatus World Cup series .
At the World Championships, All-Arounders and Apparatus Specialists will comprise their own groups in Qualifications, rotating in tandem with teams per the results of the draw. While All-Arounders have already been drawn into groups, specialists have not yet.
The order in which specialists compete will be determined in a separate draw shortly before the World Championships begin in order to minimise difficulties with the starting order for substitute gymnasts in the event of withdrawals.