On April 16-22 the Olympic Test Event in Gymnastics will be held at the Rio Olympic Arena. It is the final chance for gymnasts that did not qualify at the 2015 World Championships to punch their tickets for August's Summer Games.
This ultimate battle for places at the Games is reserved for representatives of countries whose classification at the 2015 World Championships qualified them to participate at the Test Event. For everyone who wants to be a part of the big Olympic Games in Rio in August, this is the last opportunity.
The Test Event also serves as a dress rehearsal on the Olympic stage. The gymnasts who became medalists at the 2015 World Championships and who got the right to perform at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro were also given the possibility to participate in the Test Event.
Those include Brazil's Arthur Zanetti, the reigning Olympic champion on Still Rings and Greece's Eleftherios Petrounias, the World title holder, in addition to the Netherlands's Sanne Wevers, the 2015 World silver medallist on Balance Beam, and Belarus's Melitina Staniouta, the 2015 World bronze medallist in Rhythmic Gymnastics. In Trampoline, China's Gao Lei and compatriot Li Dan, both current World champions, and the other medallists from the World Championships in Odense (DEN) have all made the trip to Brazil.
"For us as a sports federation, the Test Event is a doubly important moment, not only because it's an Olympic qualification with all the challenges that represents for the athletes who have trained hard in hopes of going to the Olympic Games, but also because it allows us to get a feel for things within the confines of the Games four months before the big competition begins,"- said Bruno Grandi, President of the International Gymnastics Federation.
"Test Events are a vital part of an organising committee's preparations, allowing us to ensure our readiness and fine-tune the venues that will host the competitions in 2016,"- said Agberto Guimarães, Executive Director of Sport and Paralympic Integration for the Rio 2016 Organising Committee.
Here's what you need to know about the event:
Artistic Gymnastics - April 16-18
Deprived of Fabian Hambüchen, Germany will count on the experience of Olympic All-around silver medallist Marcel Nguyen to earn a team berth to the Games. But seven other nations are in the running for one of the four remaining team spots: France, Olympic and two-time World High Bar champion Epke Zonderland from Netherlands, Ukraine, carried by gold medal contender Oleg Verniaiev, Spain, Romania, which in Marian Dragulescu counts among its ranks one of the kings of Vault and Floor, Canada and Belgium.
Five-time Olympic medalist Catalina Ponor has returned to the sport to help the Romanian women to obtain a team berth to the Games after the country finished far off the top eight who qualified directly to the Games at the Glasgow World Championships in October 2015. Brazil, with its young talent Flavia Saraiva, France, Belgium, Germany, boosted by the World Beam bronze from Pauline Schaefer, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland, led by European champion Giulia Steingruber, are also in the running.
Qualifying a team allows a nation to send five gymnasts to the Games, but those whose teams don't qualify have the possibility to earn individual berths. Such is the challenge for 40-year-old Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, who has set her sites on competing at a seventh Olympic Games, an absolute record in Gymnastics.
Based on team results, 35 or 36 Olympic places will be attributed to women, and between 29 and 32 for the men. All medallists from event finals at the last World Championships have in effect automatically qualified for the Games, but if the team they represent also qualifies for the Olympics, their place is attributed to someone else.
Trampoline - April 19
In the women's competition as well as the men's, the top eight of the 13 gymnasts competing will hit the flying jackpot.
Canada, which boasts 2008 Olympic silver medallist Jason Burnett, Australia, Colombia, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA will bounce for the Games places. Host country, Brazil, meanwhile, is assured a place in Trampoline competition at the Games, no matter what the outcome of Rafael Andrade's participation at the Test Event.
For the women, berths will be contested between France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, the USA and Uzbekistan, whose Ekaterina Khilko has participated at every Games since Trampoline became part of the Olympic programme in 2000.
Rhythmic Gymnastics - April 21-22
In the qualification race, 23 gymnasts will compete for nine individual places, and seven Groups will challenge for four tickets. Knowing that Brazil will be present at the Games in both individual and Group competition, teams wanting to return to Rio in August know it is best to place ahead of the Brazilians.
In individual competition, gymnasts from Armenia, Austria, Germany, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Kazkhstan, Mexico, Romania, Slovenia and Uzbekistan will contend for the remaining places. The Groups battle will be between Uzbekistan, Germany, Azerbaijan, Greece, Finland and South Korea.
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