Preview: Will Britain Be Great in Session 3?
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Subdivision 3 of men's qualification features the British squad, host of the next Olympics and the most rapidly improving team in men's gymnastics.

Even without world all-around silver medalist Daniel Keatings, the British have a shot at their first team finals.

Session 3 also includes the Canadians, eager to get back into the top eight themselves.


Great Britain's Louis Smith

Canada: Floor Exercise

The diverse Canadian team has a good mix of youth and experience. Olympians Nathan Gafuik and Ken Ikeda are the team veterans, while 19-year-old Kevin Lytwyn and 20-year-old Jayd Lukenchuk are stil gaining senior experience.

Canada begins on floor exercise, traditionally its top event. Gafuik, an excellent twister, should lead the team on floor and vault. At the Pan American Championships last month, NCAA champion Casey Sandy won the bronze on pommel horse and Ikeda, 28, was second on parallel bars.

Canada finished a best-ever sixth in qualification at the 2006 Worlds, but fell to 11th in 2007. A strong performance today can put Canada back into team finals.

Thailand: Pommel Horse

Thailand's best gymnast is 17-year-old Weena Chokpaoumpai, a Youth Olympian who was an alternate to the floor exercise final in Singapore. The squad also includes Woranad Kaewpanya, 19, and his brother Rartchawat Kaewpanya, 24, who finished 14th at the 2008 Asian Championships in Doha.

Ireland: Still Rings

Ireland sent three gymnasts, including standout Luke Carson, who represented Northern Ireland at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi. (Carson's swimmer sister, Bethany, also competed in Delhi, qualifying to the semi-final in the 100-meter butterfly.)

Absent from Rotterdam is Irish-American gymnast Rohan Sebastian, a member of the University of Michigan's first-place team at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Though healthy, Sebastian decided to concentrate on upgrading his routines for 2011.

Great Britain: Vault

The British begin on vault, where two gymnasts — Ukrainian-born Ruslan Panteleymonov and Theo Seager — plan two attempts. Great Britain has needed to show improvement on this event, where it needs some 7.0-Difficulty vaults.

The British men have chances for finals from Daniel Purvis and Kristian Thomas on floor exercise and Louis Smith on pommel horse, and the team itself, especially if it can show improvement on still rings and high bar.

Britain was 19th in 2006 and 15th in 2007, and should reach the top 12 this year. At the 2010 Europeans, the team won its first major medal by finishing second to Germany.

The British are the deepest they've ever been, with Keatings, Commonwealth champion Luke Folwell, Youth Olympic Games high bar champion Sam Oldham, and Junior European pommel horse champion Max Whitlock yet at home. Britain's 2012 Olympic team will be one of the hardest to make in gymnastics.

Greece: Parallel Bars

The Greek men have three potential finalists in Eleftherios Kosmidis (floor exercise), Vasileios Tsolakidis (parallel bars) and Vlasios Maras (two-time world and five-time European champion on high bar).

Kosmidis has a new move on floor exercise, a Hypolito with an extra half (layout half-in, 1 1/2 out). But he may not throw it in Rotterdam, since it was given a Difficulty rating of "F" (he and his coach had hoped it would be a "G").

Greece was 17th in 2006 and 18th in 2007, and doesn't have the depth yet to move into the top 12.

Qatar: High Bar

The Gulf nation of Qatar owes its improvement to foreign coaches, including former Soviet team member Eduard Gevorgyan and Romanian Olympian Razvan Selariu. The team sent two gymnasts to Rotterdam, including Ahmad Al-Dayani, who finished 35th at the Youth Olympics in Singapore.

Next Up: : the host Dutch team takes the floor along with Poland, Iran, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and Croatia.

Chat with other fans as you follow IG Publisher Paul Ziert's live commentary from the Ahoy Arena, broadcast simultaneously on IG's official Facebook Page and Twitter account!

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