TOKYO (JPN), FIG Office, October 2, 2011: Konnichiwa Tokyo, With only five days to go to the 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships the elite of the international gymnastics world began their training sessions at Yoyogi National Stadium and the Kasumigaoka Gymnasium after reaching Tokyo (JPN) in the past few days.
This event, the most important elite gymnastics event in every non-Olympic year, returns to Japan for the first time since it was first staged there in 1995 when Sabae hosted the 31st edition. There is a qualification round that determines who goes through to the Team, All-around and Apparatus Finals, when the 2011 World Champions and medallists for both men and women will be determined.
The latest update to the entry list features a total of 532 competitors (288 men and 244 women) from 80 different countries. There are 24 teams in both the men’s and the women’s competition, all of whom qualified at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam (NED).
The competition will be fierce, especially since the team events in Tokyo determine participation for the 2012 Olympic Games, with the top eight qualifying directly for London and those finishing in 9-16 going through to the Olympic test event in January that serves as a second Olympic qualifier. In addition, all medallists in the individual apparatus competitions in Tokyo will book their tickets for London.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, the venue for these championships, was also used as the venue for gymnastics events at the 1964 Summer Olympics, when Yukio Endo (JPN) won the Men’s Individual All-around and the Japanese men prevailed in the Team competition. It goes without saying that the local fans are eager to see a repetition of this success this year, with reigning World Champion Kohei Uchimura leading a strong Japanese men’s squad.
With four days of podium training getting under way tomorrow in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, qualifying rounds are scheduled for October 7–10, followed by the Team Finals on October 11 (women) and 12 (men), the Individual All-around Finals on October 13 (women) and 14 (men) and the Apparatus Finals on October 23 and 24.