In the inaugural year of the Junior World Championships, 62 nations will be represented. With 42 medals up for grabs and young talent on the floor, this promises to be an exciting competition.
Like the Senior World Championships, men and women compete on alternating days for qualifications, however, there will be no separate team and all-around finals. The Junior World Championships is a four-day long marathon with MAG qualifications on June 27th and two days of event finals (29th and 30th). For those who make both days of finals, it will be a test not only of skill, but also of stamina.
For those countries who sent a complete team, the format is three-up, two count. The qualification round will also serve as the team final and the all-around final. Similar to the World Championships or Olympic Games, each country is only allowed two gymnasts per event final.
The US. Men will begin their competition on Pommel Horse in Subdivision 1.
Who to Watch
With participation restricted to gymnasts born in 2002 and 2003, many of the gymnasts with medal success at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games have been left off the World Championships teams. However, the star and reigning Youth Olympic all-around, floor, rings, parallel bars, and horizontal bar champion, Takeru Kitazono, will undoubtedly be the heavy favorite to take the all-around title and many other event titles again. He leads a strong Japanese contention that will rotate in Olympic order in subdivision 2.
The U.S. men are bringing a relatively young and internationally inexperienced team to Hungary this week. Only Isaiah Drake has competed outside the U.S where he placed 3rd at the International Junior Team Cup in the Parallel Bar Final. Garrett Braunton comes from a long lineage of Cypress greats including Olympians Jon Horton and Chris Brooks. His standout floor has won him multiple first place finishes at J.O. Nationals and P&G Championships. Rounding out the three-man team is Matthew Cormier, another exceptional floor worker who won the title at the world selection camp. This U.S. team does have one glaring weakness and that’s on pommel horse. With Cormier’s low start value, the team will need hits from Braunton and Drake to stay in the medal mix. Overall, look for the team to excel on floor, still rings, and vault!
Hometown favorite and leader of the Hungarian team, Krisztian Balazs was a multi-medal winner at the Youth Olympic Games. Though he suffered from injuries earlier this year, look for him to challenge for a spot on the medal podium. His teammate, Adam Dobrovitz, has been dubbed the “Lord of the Rings” by the Hungarian federation. The final spot on the Hungarian team was awarded to Szabolcs Batori, whose favorite event is vault.
The Russian Federation comes to Junior Worlds as the reigning junior European Champions; however, none of the 2018 team will be competing in Hungary this weekend. Ivan Kuliak leads the Russian contingent this weekend after winning the all-around gold at the Russian Junior National Championships. Joining Kuliak is Kirill Gashkov who won the silver medal on high bar at the International Junior Team Cup earlier this year… and is also fantastic on parallel bars.
One of the most anticipated performance this championships is from Brazil’s Diogo Soares. Soares won the all-around bronze at the Youth Olympic Games, as well as the silver on high bar. Having been successful at nearly every competition he has entered since, he is an especially poignant competitor on parallel bars and high bar. With clean lines and a propensity to stick the landing, look for him to challenge for the high bar title.
Named as one to watch by the International Federation of Gymnastics, Yang Haonan leads the Chinese in this Junior World Championships. He is particularly strong on still rings and parallel bars–look for him to make the finals on both of those events. Yang Yanzhi and Li Hongyan complete the Chinese team.
Other notable gymnasts to watch are:
FX: Felix Dolci (CAN), Nazar Chepurnyi (UKR)
PH: Mammadi Sammad (Azerbaijan), Lorenzo Bonicelli (ITA)
SR: Docli Felix (CAN)
VT: Jasper Smith-Gordon (GBR), Nazar Chepurnyi (UKR)
PB: Robert Burtanete (ROM), Lucas Desanges (FRA)
HB: Ivan Brunello (ITA)
You can find an updated list of competitors here.
How to Follow:
For more information visit the official website of the 2019 Junior World Championships.
Article by: Kensley Behel