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Worlds Preview: Women's Qualification, Session 9
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Full teams from Italy, Japan and Korea take the floor in session nine of women's qualification at the 45th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Nanning, China.

The qualifications are a make-or-break event for all the gymnasts. At stake are spots in the all-around final (top 24) and apparatus finals (top eight on each event). Only the top 24 countries will advance full teams to next year's world championships in Glasgow, the first qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games.


Azumi Ishikura (Japan)

Korea: Vault

Korea placed 20th at the 2010 Worlds and improved to 15th in 2011, but failed to qualify a full team to the 2012 Olympic Games. Women's gymnastics in Korea lacks the power of the country's men's team, which placed 10th during men's qualification in Nanning.

Japan: Uneven Bars

Japan starts off on uneven bars, one of the team's best events. The Japanese women have become known over the past few years for clean and elegant style. Fifth in qualification at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo, Japan has a shot at the team final again this year. Natsumi Sasada leads the Japanese squad and has a shot at finals in the all-around and also impresses on balance beam (where she mounts with an incredible round off, layout full on). The powerful Mai Murakami was a floor exercise finalist in 2013, finishing fourth, and is aiming for the vault final as well.

Italy: Balance Beam

2006 world champion Vanessa Ferrari is still leading the Italian team, which has been weakened by injuries to 2012 Junior European champion Enus Mariani and Elisa Meneghini. The team is particularly strong on floor exercise however, with a few double layouts and double-doubles. Ferrari took second on floor exercise in 2013, her fifth world medal.

Mixed Group 1: Floor Exercise

Mixed Group 1 features individual gymnasts from three former Soviet Republics – Belarus, Georgia and Latvia – as well as Norway.

Next Up: Full teams from Austria, Great Britain, Romania and Venezuela in session 10!

Flip over to International Gymnast Magazine's official Facebook page for live commentary from the 2014 World Gymnastics Championships in Nanning!

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