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Worlds Preview: Women's Qualification, Session 1
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Competition begins Friday morning at the 46th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland. Romanian Larisa Iordache leads the Romanian charge in the first session.

Competition begins Friday morning at the 46th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.

The competition is the first of two qualifications for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Only the top eight countries will clinch berths to send teams to the Olympics. Teams finishing ninth to 16th will advance to the second Olympic qualification next April in Rio, where four more teams will earn tickets to the Olympics. Also at stake are spots in the all-around final (top 24) and apparatus finals (top eight on each event). Individual gymnasts competing without teams can earn automatic berths to Rio by winning a medal in Glasgow.

The Romanian team and fan favorite Oksana Chusovitina headline the first subdivision, which coincidentally includes two other Romanian-born gymnasts competing under other flags.

Spain: Vault

Spain has struggled the past few years and will be challenged in Glasgow to earn a top-16 finish. Top gymnast Roxana Popa missed 10 months of competition with a leg injury. The Romanian native is in the lineup on uneven bars only, but she is aiming for a berth in the finals. Spain will rely on national champion Ana PĂ©rez and Venezuelan-born Maria Paula Vargas to pace the team in Glasgow.

Mixed Group 21: Uneven Bars

Central Asian neighbors Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan make up Mixed Group 21. Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina, 40, continues to defy belief as she aims for her seventh Olympics. Chusovitina is not only competing in the all-around again, she is planning to compete the most difficult vault ever done by a female gymnast, a handspring double front (Produnova). With a 7.0-D score, Chusovitina only needs to land on her feet to get a score in the 15s, and possibly win her 12th world championship medal.

Mixed Group 23: Balance Beam

The diverse Mixed Group 23 consists of Norway, Panama and Cyprus. Stella Savvidou, who was born in Romania but lives in Australia, is representing Cyprus. She is returning to Glasgow after competing here last summer at the Commonwealth Games. Isabella Amado, who trains at the Excalibur Club in Virginia, United States, is Panama's best-ever female gymnast and impresses on several events.

Romania: Floor Exercise

Long-time power Romania has been out of the team medals the past few years, and will hard pressed to make it onto the podium this year. Injuries to Catalina Ponor and Ana Maria Ocolisan have weakened the team's lineup, but the spirited Romanians always put up a good fight. Larisa Iordache, the defending all-around silver medalist, leads the Romanian charge on all four events. Iordache has improved her uneven bars routine, adding a new toe-on piked Tkatchev, and once again is expected to challenge for medals in the all-around, and on balance beam and floor exercise.

Next Up: Full teams from Japan and Austria!

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