Oksana aims for record eighth Olympic berth in Melbourne

DOHA (QAT) AGU Office: Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, one of the sport’s longest-serving gymnasts, will hope to seal her record eighth Olympic berth when the second FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup of the 2018-2019 series takes place in Melbourne, Australia, from February 21-24.

The four-day competition at the Melbourne Arena will be the second of eight individual World Cup events between now and March, 2020 which offer gymnasts a qualifying route to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The first event took place in Cottbus (GER) in November last year.

Oksana, a former floor exercise, vault world and Olympic Team champion in the women’s competition, has competed in her maiden Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.

The 43-year-old will hope to repeat her World Cup success of 2018 when she won gold medals on vault in Baku, Doha, Osijek (CRO) and Paris (FRA).

China’s Fan Yilin, who won the gold here at the 2015, and South Korean sensation 16-year-old Yeo Seoyeong, who beat Oksana to win vault gold at last year’s Asian Games, will be top Asian challengers.

Asian men aim for glory

Former world champion in horizontal bar Zhang Chenglong (CHN), 2012 Olympic vault champion Yang Hakseon (KOR) and 2015 parallel bars world champion You Hao (CHN) will be some of the Asian contenders vying for top honours.

Yulo in great form

It is also worth looking out for 2018 pommel horse bronze medallist Chih Kai Lee (TPE) and Filipino teenager Carlos Edriel Yulo, who made history in Doha last year by becoming his country’s first gymnast to win a medal (bronze) in floor exercise at the FIG Artistic World Championships. He followed it up with another outstanding performance in Cottbus, where he also won a bronze.

Gymnasts get direct qualify to Olympic Games

The Melbourne event will feature two days of qualifying, with the top eight and a maximum of two athletes per country on each apparatus advancing to the finals on February 23 and 24.

For the first time, gymnasts will be able to qualify directly to the Olympic Games though the FIG World Cup Series.

Nations that qualify full teams to Tokyo will have a chance to qualify an additional two gymnasts as individuals through the World Cups while nations that do not advance full teams will have opportunities to earn berths through the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart (GER) and through the World Cup series.

Points will be awarded by placement on each individual apparatus over eight World Cups taking place through March 2020, with two each in Cottbus, Melbourne, Baku (AZE) and Doha (QAT).

The top 12 gymnasts on each apparatus earn points, with 30 points for first place, 25 for second, 20 for third and so on down to five points for 12th place. The top-ranked gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the 2020 Games.