Lausanne, Aug 5, 2015: More than 600 athletes representing a record 91 countries have registered to compete for Olympic qualification at this year’s Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Glasgow (GBR), signaling that the 2015 Worlds will be the biggest in FIG history.
The draw for the 46th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, which will qualify the top eight teams and individual event medallists for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, was held Wednesday at the Glasgow City Chambers.
The draw determines which teams will compete when during qualifying sessions, which can play an important role in strategy and preparation. Both men and women will compete during two days of qualification each. Qualification will include 12 subdivisions for the women, to be held on October 23 and 24, and eight subdivisions for the men, held October 25-26. The event runs through November 1.
At stake in Glasgow are not only World titles but team and individual qualification berths to both next spring’s Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) and next summer’s Olympic Games. The top 24 teams from the 2014 World Championships in Nanning (CHN) will compete in Glasgow, where the top eight men’s and women’s teams from the team qualification round will automatically earn team berths to the Olympics. Teams ranked 9th through 16th will advance to the Rio Test Event in April 2016, where the top four teams (also from the qualification round) will also punch their ticket to the summer Games.
Gymnasts who earn a medal in Individual Apparatus Event Finals in Glasgow also qualify directly to the Games, provided they come from a country that has not already qualified a team. Teams ranked 17th-24th at the 2015 Worlds will be allowed to send two individual gymnasts to the 2016 Test Event, while other national federations with a gymnast who participates in All-around qualification at the World Championships will earn the right to send one gymnast to the Test Event based on the gymnast’s ranking. In this way, 40 male and 40 female gymnasts will qualify to the Test Event.
Olympic qualification aside, fans in Glasgow will have a unique opportunity to watch history unfold in the Men’s and Women’s All-around competitions, as reigning World champions Kohei Uchimura (JPN) and Simone Biles (USA) both strive to break World title records. Uchimura, one of the greatest male gymnasts in history, will be going for his sixth consecutive World All-around title, something no man has ever achieved. Unbeaten in World All-around competition since the 2008 Olympic Games, Uchimura has enjoyed a long reign at the very top of the sport and shows no signs that the sun is setting on his dominance.
“This is a very thrilling time, the start of Olympic qualification,” said Steve Butcher (USA), FIG Men’s Technical Committee President. “The world is excited and gymnastics is developing! This competition will feature a record number of participating gymnasts in the history of Olympic qualifying World Championships. It also demonstrates how much gymnastics has been developing throughout the world. Many federations will be involved in their first ever Olympic qualification. This is the start of the Olympic enthusiasm to carry us to Rio in 2016!”
For her part, Biles will attempt to win her third consecutive World All-around crown. The 18-year-old American is aiming to become the only woman in the modern era of Gymnastics to win three in a row. The great Svetlana Khorkina (RUS) is the only female gymnast to have won three World All-around titles, though she did it over a span of six years (1997, 2001 and 2003.)
“This is the biggest number of individuals recorded in the history of the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships,” said Nellie Kim (BLR), FIG Women’s Technical Committee President. “The meticulous approach of the Organising Committee to each and every little detail of these Championships is truly impressive and I am sure that the experience, the effort and the wisdom put into the process of preparation will lead us all to a truly unique event.”
In addition, the reigning World team champions, China (Men) and the USA (Women) will be defending the team titles they won in Nanning (CHN) in 2014. Both teams are the reigning Olympic team champions and hope to repeat the result a year from now in Rio.
The women’s and men’s draws were conducted by Kim and Butcher respectively, held in the presence of representatives of the Local Organising Committee, the City of Glasgow and members of the FIG staff.
The 2015 World Championships will be held at Glasgow’s new SSE Hydro Arena, the same venue where Gymnastics was contested at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The SSE Hydro will be a familiar venue for many of the athletes, some of whom competed in the arena when it hosted the Gymnastics competitions at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Glasgow is delighted to welcome back elite gymnasts, many of whom will take center stage in Rio.
“The Championships will bring together the world’s very best gymnasts for 10 days of top-class competition, just a few months before they go for gold at the Rio Olympics. Make no mistake about it, we will be witnessing the best of the best here in Glasgow later this year,” said Gordon Matheson, Leader of the Glasgow City Council. “The World Championships is already the biggest ever gymnastics event to be staged in Glasgow with over 60 percent of tickets snapped up by the public. And now that we know who is competing and when, the demand for tickets is only going to grow.”
Click here to view the draw.
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