As the Chinese team wraps up its dominance of the first subdivision, let's take a look at who is coming up next.
Subdivision 2 contains a pair of teams in contrast in the rising Japan and struggling Ukraine. Ukraine, which has produced some of the most phenomenal gymnasts in history, has been dismally inconsistent over the past four years. Third in qualification at the 2006 Worlds, the team failed to even make the final at the 2008 Olympics.
Koko Tsurumi (Japan)
With many nations similarly struggling, Japan is one of the few rapidly rising nations in women's gymnastics. Interestingly, two of their coaches in Rotterdam are two-time Ukrainian Olympian Alina Kozich and her former coach, Sergei Butsula.
Japan begins on vault, its weakest event, but surely will build momentum on uneven bars and balance beam. Koko Tsurumi, the all-around bronze medalist and bars silver medalist at the 2009 Worlds, is a crowd favorite wherever she performs. She has increased her difficulty and will be hoping for more finals — and more medals — in Rotterdam.
The Japanese, who host the next world championships in Tokyo, should qualify for the team final in Rotterdam. They finished an impressive fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games, and with some incredible talent in their junior ranks, should contend for team medals very soon.
New Zealand: Uneven Bars
New Zealand, with three gymnasts, won't qualify for the 2011 Worlds as a team. The squad flew to Rotterdam directly from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where Jordan Rae finished 12th and Holly Moon 19th in the all-around.
Slovenia: Balance Beam
Slovenia's new ability to field a full team may be representative of its growth in women's gymnastics. Teja Belak is one of the top gymnasts in the world on vault under the World Cup ranking system. The first-year senior has competed in five World Cups in 2010, and took the gold on vault in Maribor.
Ukraine: Floor Exercise
Ukraine begins on floor exercise, which means the team will need to finish on the pressure-backed balance beam. The team is without the injured Natalia Kononenko, however, whose incredible uneven bars routine won Ukraine's only medal at the Europeans in May. Still the team has incredible potential, including Olympic uneven bars finalist Anastasia Koval and 2008 European balance beam champion Yana Demyanchuk. No Ukrainians made any finals in 2009, so the gymnasts may be under even more pressure to show improvement this year.
First-year senior Yevgenia Cherniy missed the Europeans with injury, and will be eager to make a good world debut as she leads the team off on each event.
Next Up in Subdivision 3:: Poland, Romania, Brazil and Israel.
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