Preview: Romania, Ukraine Star in Session 2
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The men's qualification competition continues Sunday afternoon with strong teams from Romania and Ukraine taking the floor in session two at the 43nd World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo.


Three-time Olympian Marian Dragulescu (Romania)

Ukraine: Floor Exercise

After a disastrous 19th place for their female counterparts, the Ukrainian men will have extra pressure to keep their once glorious program alive. Upstart Nikolai Kuksenkov leads this team, but his weak knee could be a factor during this long competition. 2000 and 2004 Olympian Roman Zozyula is back, and Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Oleg Stepko is a bright hope for the former power.

Switzerland: Pommel Horse

New national champion Pablo Brägger will kick off the Swiss squad's meet, as the first gymnast to perform on pommel horse. The team was 15th in Rotterdam, putting them on the bubble in Tokyo.

Mixed Group 23: Still Rings

Mixed Group 23 features Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, and Luxembourg. 2008 Olympian Mohamed Srour is seeking a second Olympic berth for Egypt. Luxembourg's Sacha Palgen is miraculously still competing, after suffering a broken neck several years ago training a rollout skill on floor exercise.

Mixed Group 15: Vault

Mixed Group 15 features two gymnasts from Georgia and three from India. The scandal-prone Indian squad is back at worlds after the federation declined to send them in 2010. Top hope Ashish Kumar is aiming for a spot in the floor (thrilling opening pass of 2 1/2, punch double front) and vault finals. He's already become the first Indian gymnast to win medal at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games — will worlds be next?

Romania: Parallel Bars

The Romanian men start on parallel bars, meaning they end on their best event, vault. Marian Dragulescu is back doing six events for the team, and he and national champion Flavius Koczi will challenge for spots in the floor, vault and all-around finals. The team was ninth in Rotterdam, and hoping to move up at least one more spot in Tokyo to secure Olympic qualification.

Mixed Group 16: High Bar

Mixed Group 21 features gymnasts from the tiny nations of Qatar and Hong Kong. Both programs are on the rise in gymnastics thanks to foreign coaches. The gymnast with the best shot at a final is Hong Kong's Shek Wai Hung, a regular vault finalist in World Cup competition.

Next Up in Subdivision 3: Full teams from Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands!

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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