These World Championships were long anticipated by many because it was the last opportunity for federations to qualify entire teams to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Having qualified at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, three teams already had their Olympic team spots secured – the United States of America, China and Russia. This year’s Worlds was the chance for nine further teams to qualify and by the end of the final subdivision, we had learned that seven of the nine teams were European:
- Great Britain
Canada and Japan also qualified full WAG teams to Tokyo. In terms of how expected these results were, few were surprised that Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany qualified full teams, since they all did so for Rio 2016 and have been fairly strong over the past quad. While Great Britain are currently missing some of their Rio team members, such as Amy Tinkler, who won bronze in the Olympic floor final, they have good depth and can count on big scores when everyone hits. France were without their star vaulter, Coline Devillard (who had to withdraw due to injury) but new senior Aline Friess showed a new Rudi on vault and hugely upgraded routines on all events to ensure they qualified without any issues. The biggest surprise were probably Spain, who have been struggling over the past few quads to adapt to the changes in the code, producing stylish gymnasts whose routines were often lacking in difficulty. This year, they had Rio Olympian Ana Pérez, Cintia Rodríguez and Roxana Popa all on the team for the first time in years, following Popa’s remarkable comeback from serious knee injuries and multiple surgeries. With Pérez’s recent upgrades along with Rodriguez’s beautiful execution and Popa’s scoring potential (a 13.800 on floor got her into the floor final) along with decent performances from Marina González and Alba Petisco, the team did enough to sneak into the top nine.