Japan Leads After 4 of 6 Subdivisions, U.S. Men Second

Japan Leads After 4 of 6 Subdivisions, U.S. Men Second

Inside Gymnastics is on the scene in Antwerp, Belgium bringing you all the action from the 2023 World Championships! Make sure you’re  following our social media pages (XFacebookInstagram & Threads) for news and highlights throughout the competition!

For the full competition draw and rotation order, click here

UP NEXT: Men’s Qualifications Resume and the Women Take the Floor!

Oct. 1 – Men’s Qualifications Day 2 & Women’s Qualifications Day 1

  • 4:00 a.m. ET – Men’s Subdivision 5 (EGY, CAN, COL, SUI, AA9, AA7) | All Gymnastics TV
  • 6:15 a.m. ET – Men’s Subdivision 6 (ITA, KOR, FRA, HUN, AA1, AA2) | All Gymnastics TV
  • 10:00 a.m. ET – Women’s Subdivision 1 (ITA, NED, AS1, AS2) | All Gymnastics TV
  • 11:45 a.m. ET – Women’s Subdivision 2 (TPE, USA, AA4, AA7) | All Gymnastics TV
  • 1:30 p.m. ET – Women’s Subdivision 3 (GBR, KOR, RSA, AA2) | All Gymnastics TV

Japan Leads After 4 of 6 Subdivisions, U.S. Men Second

With traditional powerhouse Japan leading the way, the battle in the men’s competition in a 3-up-3-count Team Final could come down to as many as eight teams challenging each other for a place on the podium as well as those final nine spots to Paris. (China, Japan and Great Britain have already qualified to the Games by virtue of their 1,2,3 placement in 2022.) And in a day filled with surprises and nine official Olympic berths on the horizon, as we know, anything is possible.

Last year’s final in Liverpool could be described as unpredictable, thrilling, and historic. The men left nothing to chance and everything on the floor with unforeseeable twists and turns throughout the competition in a men’s Team Final we’ll not soon forget. Finishing over four points ahead of Japan, the Chinese team, led by 2021 World All-Around Champion Zhang Boheng (who is not in Antwerp opting instead for the Asian Games), not only bounced back to win by the largest margin at Worlds in the last 15 years (the last four World team titles plus Olympic team title were decided by less than a point), but set a record for the most men’s World team titles in history. 

Today in Antwerp, China sits in fifth but as we’ve seen, can never be counted out for team gold (in Liverpool they finished fourth in Qualifications).

The Japanese team, who currently sits first with a margin of just over three and a half points, is looking for a World team gold medal for the first time since 2015. With the exception of reigning World All-Around Champion Hashimoto Daiki, non of the members of the Japanese team competed in Liverpool last year, but they seemed to handle the pressure well after day 1. Hashimoto Daiki didn’t have his strongest performance during the qualification round and finished third behind two of his teammates Chiba Kenta and Kaya Kazuma, but is still expected to make a run for the All-Around title later next week.

Japanese coach Hiroaki Sato said the team had a meeting prior to the competition, knowing this outcome could happen with three gymnasts competing All-Around. An agreement was made that if Hashimoto didn’t place top two, he would still be competing in the All-Around final. The whole team was in support of that decision Hiroaki said.

With fierce competition expected to come from Great Britain (Max is Back!), Italy, Brazil, Germany, Turkey (watch out for this team!), Spain, Canada, and Korea, the U.S. men needed to come out of the gates as strong as ever today to make their case.

And they did. Placing second just behind Japan with two Subdivisions and seemingly their Olympic passports. They came out of the gates swinging on pommel horse and never looked back. Despite falls from Khoi Young and Fred Richard on high bar, the team looked confident and in control, with work to do and things to improve for Team Finals. In many ways, it’s the perfect place to be. 

Of the team’s mistake on high bar, high performance director Brett McClure noted:  “What happens when you try not to make a mistake? You end up making a mistake. But that’s ok. They need something to focus on, right? Something to keep you humble and grateful and excited about the next time you go out.”

Paul Juda, who is competing in his first World Championships (along with Richard and Young) and has been soaking in every experience this week reflected: “It was definitely pretty scary saluting that first time. There’s always that moment where you look up and you’re saluting and you’re on the big screen. You’re like, ‘Ok, now I really can’t mess up.’ But if I see myself on the big screen, I always try to give it a smile too.”

In addition to a strong showing as a team, Team USA could be on the verge of some individual success as well. Richard is currently sitting second on floor; Young is second on parallel bars;  Juda is fifth on vault with Khoi Young sixth, and Asher Hong seventh; Yul Moldauer is fourth on parallel bars and Juda is sixth on high bar.

Men’s Qualifications concludes tomorrow and features Egypt, Canada, Colombia, and Switzerland in Subdivision 5, and Italy, South Korea, France and Hungary closing out the competition in Subdivision 6. At the conclusion of the competition, we will officially know the top 12 teams who have punched their ticket to the XXXIII Olympic Games in Paris.

Team Standings after 4 Subs with 2 to go tomorrow:

1. Japan 258.228 2. USA 254.528 3. Great Britain 254.193 4. Germany 248.862 5. China 248.163 6. Spain 247.795 7. Turkey 247.692 8. Netherlands 246.028 9. Ukraine 245.461 10. Brazil 245.295 11. Belgium 245.094 12. Israel 245.029 13. Uzbekistan 244.229 14. Kazakhstan 243.061 15. Romania 235.261 16. Australia 201.095

Photos by Ricardo Bufolin for Inside Gymnastics

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