Preview: Will Russia Be Great in Session 8?
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The defending champion Russian squad must follow a fantastic U.S. performance as qualification continues in Session 8 on Saturday at the 43nd World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo.

Russian champion Anna Dementyeva

Mixed Group 15: Vault

Mixed Group 15 includes Norway and Belarus. As with their men's team, the Norwegians qualified three gymnasts but elected to send only one, Karoline Sondav. Two of the three Belarusian gymnasts, Alina Sotnikova and Anastasia Marachovskaya, will be trying for the vault final.

Russia: Uneven Bars

Russia starts on uneven bars, meaning the team will end up on vault, its weakest event. Youth Olympic champion Viktoria Komova joins three of the members of the 2010 world champion squad: Ksenia Afanasyeva, Anna Dementyeva and Tatiana Nabiyeva. Russia will certainly miss world champion Aliya Mustafina, but nevertheless has the potential to challenge for first. Yulia Belokoblyskaya is beautiful on floor, while newcomer Yulia Inshina is the weakest member of the team. Will Komova and Nabiyeva risk Amanars on vault in qualification? And Komova, Dementyeva and Afanasyeva will fight it out today for the two spots in the all-around final.

Belgium: Balance Beam

Belgium is led by the delightful Julia Croket and 2008 Olympian Gaelle Mys. The team was 15th in 2010, and a repeat ranking will earn them an invitation to the London test event, where four more teams will qualify to the Olympics in 2012.

Switzerland: Floor Exercise

Switzerland finished 16th in Rotterdam, but will have a hard time repeating that result without world medalist Ariella Käslin, who announced a sudden retirement a few months ago. Giulia Steingruber has a shot at the vault final.

Next Up in Subdivision 9: Hungary, Italy, Spain and Ukraine!

Follow IG Publisher Paul Ziert's live commentary from Yoyogi Stadium, broadcast simultaneously on IG's official Facebook Page and Twitter account.

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