There has been a discussion going on at the International Gymnast forum for the past while as to which countries will find it the hardest to choose their team to represent them at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo and for the London 2012 Olympics. A few teams names have been batted about but many are stuck between China and USA.
In my opinion, it seems like the USA will find it tough when deciding on their Worlds Team, especially with the teams being made of five gymnasts as opposed to six in Beijing. The USA have a lot of really strong gymnasts, especially All Arounders and some great new rising stars who have just begun their Senior year. Gabrielle Douglas is one name that comes to mind, now coached by Liang Chow, she shows some really great potential. Gabrielle seems to have it all power, grace, flexibility and some great updates in the last year or so. She also has great bar work, which is vital to the USA team who are weak on bars. In an interview with Des Moines Register Chow explains that her next challenge is making sure that she can hit her routines each time and be consistent.
If all British gymnasts stay healthy, there could be a tough choice there too. British Gymnastics released their “performance squad” list which has the names of 16 excellent gymnasts who are eligible to compete at London 2012, all great gymnasts. Hannah Whelan, Beth Tweddle, Jenni Pinches and Danusia Francis are pretty much a sure thing, I would also put my money on comeback kid Imogen Cairns being in the squad too but new seniors such as Rebecca Tunney have a lot going for them and a lot to contribute to the team.
China may also have a tough choice, it’s hard to know how Cheng Fei will hold up, Huang Qiushuang has also suffered from injury this year and I feel Sui Lu has peaked. He Kexin, isn’t shining as much as she used to, possibly on bars but by her standards she had a disasterous bar set at the 2010 Worlds. We haven’t seen too much from the Chinese this year, which is not unusual. The Chinese Nationals earlier in the year showed us some of what was to come. Cheng Fei returned looking good and He Kexin showed some great bar work. We also saw more of new seniors, AA winner Tan Sixin and the 2nd place AA winner Yao Jinnan, two gymnasts who could contribute highly to the team. China have 13 gymnasts on their National Squad, some of who hold previous World titles. 13 gymnasts to choose from and only 5 places…
Gymnastics fans over at The Couch Gymnast have been contributing to the blog in a project entitled “Worlds Team Week”, discussing who they think will make the teams for Australia, Romania, China, USA and Russia. It’s a very interesting read.
So, which country do you think will have the most difficult choice when choosing their team for Worlds this year and for London 2012?