The President of Qatar Gymnastic Federation, Ali Al Hitmi (fourth right) with other officials and sponsors of the 7th FIG World Challenge Cup Artistic Gymnastics after the sponsorship agreement signing held at the Holiday Villa Hotel in Doha yesterday. Picture by: Salim Matramkot
Doha: A host of Olympic and World champions have confirmed their participation for the 7th FIG World Challenge Cup Artistic Gymnastics which will be held here at the Aspire Academy Dome from March 26 to 28, officials of the Qatar Gymnastics Federation (QGF) announced here yesterday.
Addressing a press conference, President of QGF said more than 200 gymnasts from 37 countries, will gather in Doha for the event and thanked International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) for reposing faith in Qatar to host the prestigious championship for the seventh time.
“It is a pride that we have earned the trust of the International Gymnastics federation (FIG) to host an important event like this here in Qatar, which is hosting a lot of championships like this in different sports,” said Al Hitmi.
Al Hitmi said Qatar has all the infrastructure and personnel to host the world championships.
“We have the best possible facilities and infrastructure to host any world class event.. We have qualified manpower working professionally, all these makes us ambitious to go for bigger events and we are gearing up to host 2018 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships,” the QGF President, who is also the chairman of the Higher Organisation Committee of Artistic Gymnastics World Series.
Qatar has submitted the bid file to host the 2018 Artistic World Cup and the host country will be officially named at the FIG Council’s next meeting in Kuwait on May 9 and 10.
“We are working hard to realise the dream of hosting the World Championships in 2018. I am hopeful we will be able to achieve it. We have a very good chance,” Al Hitmi said.
Qatar will host the second leg of the seven-stop World Cup Series events.
The first leg finished in Cottbus, Germany, on Sunday.
Besides Qatar, the other stops for the World Cup Series events are April 18 to 20 in Ljubljana Slovakia, from April 25 to 27 in Osijek Crotia, May 29 to June 1 in Anadia Portugal, August 23 to 24, in Ghent, Belgium and from September 5 to 7 in Medellin, Colombia
The Qatar championship will be held for both men and women and after each event there will be a World Ranking lists for each piece of apparatus, six for men and four for women.
The men’s competition will be in Floor Exercises, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal bar, while the women will compete in Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor Exercises.
The competitions will feature qualifications, which will be held on March 26 and the finals – where best eight gymnasts per apparatus will feature – will take place on March 27 and 28.
The total prize money for the event is $50,000, with first-placed apparatus walking away with $1,500, while the second and third placed gymnasts with be richer by $1,200 and $800.
The three-day World Challenge Cup has attracted the best in the business.
The men’s challenge, which has attracted 99 entries, will be led by 2012 Olympic Champion Epke Jan Zonderland of the Netherlands.
The 27-year-old, nicknamed ‘The flying Dutchman’, was gold medalist at the London Games in the high bar and the next year he sealed his supremacy in the event, winning the 2013 World Championship in Antwerp.
At the moment, he holds the European, Olympic, and World championships titles.
In the Pommel Horse competition, Olympic champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary will be the star attraction. He is also the 2010 and 2011 World Champion, and was a silver medallist in the 2007 and 2009 editions.
Parallel bars World Champion Mitja Petkovsek of Slovakia will also be in action.
He won the world title in 2005 and 2007, and was the World Cup Final champion in 2000 and 2004, having also won European title three times.
Among women – all eyes will be on Larisa Andreea Iordache of Romania. She won a bronze medal as part of the Romanian team at the 2012 Olympics. At the World Championships last year, she won bronze in the Floor Exercise events and has also won two golds and a silver at the 2012 European Championships.
The other star athletes to take part in the event are Marcel Nguyen of Germany, who won silver in London in the all-round gymnastics category and Swiss world number four Giulia Steingruber.
There will be six Qatari gymnasts in the competition. Mahmoud Alsaadi, Ahmed Aldyani and Malik Alyahri will feature in the men’s events. While in the women’s, Shaden Wohdan, who won two gold medals at the Arab Games in 2011, Farah Mahmoud and Ahlam Al Habshi will be in action. The tickets are available for free at the City Center and Landmark malls Thursday, March 20 onwards between 4pm and 10 pm.
Gymnasts from the following countries will be taking part in the championship namely Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iraq, Jordan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taipei, Turkey, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam.