Olympic spots up for grabs as 16th Artistic Gymnastics World Cup starts in Doha today

DOHA: The 16th Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Championships (Taishan) will start with the MAG and WAG qualification rounds at the Women’s Sports Committee Hall at Aspire Zone today.

This year’s event assumes importance for most top gymnasts as it will be last qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

A host of top gymnasts from 55 participating countries will be vying for top honours in the men and women apparatuses.

Among the prominent gymnasts, reigning world champion on pommel horse, Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland will be aiming for a top finish.

The Northern Ireland-born gymnast has been in the news throughout his career.

The 24-year-old is a double world champion on pommel horse after having won gold at the 2022 and 2023 editions.

Jordan and Arab world’s favourite and successful MAG gymnast Ahmed Abu Al Saud, who won gold medal on pommel horse at the Asian Championships in the Qatari capital two years ago, will be looking forward to cash in on the local support when he goes out to perform on the Pommel Horse apparatus.

After winning the gold at the Asian event, Ahmed became the first gymnast from his country win a medal (silver) at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool (England). He followed it up with another medal (bronze) at the 2023 World Championships in Antwerp (Belgium). It will be interesting to watch how he fares in a field that also features McClenaghan.

In the women’s category, Algeria’s Kaylia Nemour will be one of the star performers.

Kaylia has already qualified as an individual to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, where she will be a serious contender for at least one podium spot.

But the 17-year-old will be hoping to finish at the top of WAG qualification chart at the qualifiers tomorrow. 

The French-Algerian artistic gymnast, who was 2023 African all-around champion, currently represents Algeria in international competition.

Kaylia became the first African gymnast to win a medal at the 2023 World Championships where she won a silver on the uneven bars.

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