Komova and Team USA prevail in Qualifications

TOKYO (JPN), FIG News, October 8, 2011: The second day of qualifying events at the 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships began with high anticipation levels among fans and gymnasts alike, all waiting to see which Women’s Teams would qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games (Alicia Sacramone). Only those countries finishing in the top eight earn direct qualification, with the teams ranked 9-16 having the opportunity to qualify for the Games by finishing in the top four at the 2012 Olympic Test Event in London.

The numerous spectators inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium witnessed a thrilling day of competition. Gymnastics powerhouses China, Russia and the USA performed strongly in the first part of the day while the efforts of hosts Japan, Germany, Great Britain and Italy ensured the destiny of the Olympic berths remained open until the end.

The young Team USA pulled together after their leader and 2010 World Champion on the Vault, Alicia Sacramone, was left off the team with an injured Achilles tendon. Headed by Jordyn Wieber, who qualified second for the Individual All-around Final on Thursday, the team impressed with solid performances on all apparatus and topped the rankings with a total of 234.253 – and a margin of more than three points over second place.

Wieber also qualified for event Finals in the Uneven Bars and Balance Beam, while McKayla Maroney and Alexandra Raisman qualified first for the Vault and Floor Final respectively.

The 2010 Youth Olympic Champion and first year senior, Victoria Komova, helped Team Russia to an overall 231.062 that ranked them second. Weakened by the absence of reigning All-around World Champion Aliya Mustafina, who is recovering from a torn ACL, the defending World Champions lost valuable points in the Floor event, when Anna Dementyeva fell and Komova stepped out of bounds.

Apart from this mistake, the young Komova demonstrated great consistency, mastering routines of highly difficult with incredible precision. She leads the All-around ranking, having qualified in first place for the Uneven Bars and Beam Finals (tying with China’s Sui Lu) as well in fifth position for the Floor. Teammate Tatiana Nabieva progressed to the Vault and Uneven Bars Finals, while Yulia Inshina remains in contention in the Beam event.

China delivered excellent performances in the Beam and Floor, with Sui Lu qualifying for both Apparatus Finals in second position and Yao Jinnan in fourth. Traditionally a strong event for China, Uneven Bars was disastrous for the team today, however, with the 2009 World Champion, He Kexin, falling off the apparatus. Huang Qiushuang offered the only positive, qualifying in fourth position. She will join Yao, who lies third behind Komova and Wieber, in the All-around Final.

Team Italy’s former World Champion, Vanessa Ferrari, qualified for the Floor Final as well as for the All-around and finished ninth, missing out narrowly on direct Olympic qualification.

The last subdivision featured a consistent Japan team that pleased their fans with solid routines in each event and finished fifth. The home side shone especially in the Uneven Bars, where Koko Tsurumi and Asuka Teramoto qualified for the event Final. Tsurumi will be joined by Rie Tanaka in the All-around Final. The only drawback was that Yuumi Iizuku injured herself while warming up for the Vault and had to be carried off the podium.

Romania and Australia, who competed yesterday, as well as Germany and Great Britain are also in the top eight, advancing to the Team Final and securing their tickets for the 2012 Olympics. Italy, France, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Korea and Belgium qualified for the Olympic Test Event in January, where four more teams will qualify for London.

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