Biles bounces back into spotlight
DOHA: Superstar Simone Biles of the USA returns to international competition for the first time since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the first of two days of women’s qualifications at the 48th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at Aspire Dome on Saturday.
Biles, who won four golds at the Rio Games, will attempt to regain the all-around title she won at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Worlds. To do so she will need to overtake team-mate Morgan Hurd, the 2017 world all-around champion.
“I think our team as a whole will shine a lot of light at this competition and hopefully we’ll bring back some medals,” Biles said in podium training earlier in the week.
Biles and Hurd are likely to lead the USA squad to its fourth consecutive world team title.
Fast-rising Japan will also compete in Saturday’s qualifications. Standouts for Japan include Mai Murakami, who won gold on floor exercise and placed fourth all-around at the 2017 Worlds.
Uzbekistan’s 43-year-old Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, a seven-time Olympian, will perform on Saturday, as well.
Women’s qualifications consist of six subdivisions on Saturday and five subdivisions on Sunday. Men’s qualifications concluded on Friday.
Based on their performances in qualifications, competitors will advance to team, individual all-around and individual apparatus finals.
The competition will determine the winners of eight sets of medals for men (Team, All-around, Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and Horizontal Bar) and six for women (Team, All-around, Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, and Floor Exercise).
The three medal-winning nations in the Team finals for both men and women will earn team berths directly to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo while the others will have further chances to qualify in 2019 and 2020.