Exciting battle between Uchimura, Xuo on the cards
Doha: Reigning all-around Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura and China’s current all-around world champion Xuo Ruoteng are the two top names who will be seen in action at the 11th FIG Artistic Individual World Cup from March 21-24.
“We can expect an interesting and exciting battle between the two at the Doha leg of FIG World Cup Series,” said Qatar Gymnastics Federation (QGF) Technical Expert Anis Saoud at a Press conference here on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Japanese had won a six successive world all-around titles, but missed out at the last World Championships in Montreal, Canada, following a bad fall in the second qualifying event.
Ruoteng, who succeeded Uchimura last year, became the first Chinese to win a gold in a major global individual all-around competition since Yang Wei at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“We’re proud to host this annual event. It has strengthened Doha’s position as the venue of world’s top class sports tournaments,” said QGF President Ali Ahmed Al Hitmi, who is also a FIG Executive Member.
QGF Assistant General Secretary and Competition Manager Abeer Al Buainain was also present on the occasion.
“This year’s edition is important because the FIG Artistic World Championships will be held here. The competition will also be a test event for the October Worlds,” added Anis.
Uzbekistan’s seven-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina, probably the oldest gymnast competing at the highest level, will strive to excel in the women’s competition which will have gymnasts half her age.
The 43-year-old had beaten Australia’s Emily Little and Slovenia’s Teja Belak in Doha last year to win the vault gold.
Belgium’s 17-year-old Nina Derwael, who became her country’s first gymnast to win a World Championship medal last year in Montreal, Canada, will be another attraction.
Derwael won a bronze on the uneven bars and will hope to live up to her expectations.
The four-day tournament, which involves two days qualification rounds, summarises Qatar’s achievement as a top-notch host of international sports event.
The finals will be held on Friday and Saturday.