Suffering from injuries, world champions Kohei Uchimura (Japan) and Marian Dragulescu (Romania) will be put to the test as competition continues in Subdivision Two.
World all-around champion Uchimura is suffering from a shoulder injury, which was visibly apparent in podium training. Dragulescu, who injured his foot one month ago, will try to defend his world titles on floor exercise and vault despite his interrupted training.
Session two also includes Colombia, Denmark, Finland, and Spain.
Kohei Uchimura (Japan)
Colombia: Floor Exercise
Colombia is led by 2008 Olympian Jorge Hugo Giraldo, who finished 13th at the 2009 Worlds. The 31 year old is coached by Junzuke Iwai, and the Japanese influence is apparent on parallel bars and high bar. A top-24 finish would be a thrilling result for Colombia, which did not send a full team to the 2006 Worlds.
Japan: Pommel Horse
Uchimura's shoulder will be tested immediately as Japan begins on pommel horse and then continues to still rings. While nobody doubts Uchimura is the best gymnast in the world today, the question will be if the 2008 Olympic silver medalist can rely on will and experience to compete through the pain in Rotterdam.
Japan's team includes several newcomers. Japan's two Kojis — Yamamuro and Uematsu — took second and third, respectively, behind Uchimura at this year's NHK Cup. If Uchimura really struggles, he could be passed by his teammates in the all-around qualifications.
Also look for Kazuhito Tanaka, who finished .1 from the all-around bronze at the 2009 Worlds. Tanaka isn't doing all-around in Rotterdam, but he anchors the Japanese on parallel bars, where he has a good chance of a medal.
But not in Japan's lineup are some potential high scorers, including Japan Cup champions Eichi Sekiguchi (vault) and Takuya Nakase (high bar).
Japan's legendary gymnastics history is reflected in its Rotterdam staff: 2005 world champion Hiroyuki Tomita is an assistant coach, and Mitsuo Tsukahara is head of Japan's delegation.
Spain: Still Rings
Spain is without national champion Rafael Martinez, who underwent surgery in September for a broken finger. The Spanish men are still capable of a top-12 finish and are looking for finals for Isaac Botella (floor and vault) and Manuel Carballo (parallel bars).
Romania should take the lead immediately as it begins on vault, its strength and the highest-scoring event in men's gymnastics. But like Uchimura, Dragulescu and his injured foot will be put to the test on the first event.
National champion Flavius Koczi should lead the Romanian men, and is a potential finalist on vault (triple-twisting Tsukahara) and pommel horse.
Sixth at the 2007 Worlds, Romania will be relived to reach finals in 2010 without a full-strength Dragulescu.
Finland: Parallel Bars
Finland's standout is the excitable Tomi Tuuha, who thrilled the Nordic nation by winning the European title on vault this year. Tuuha will be looking for a finals berth in Rotterdam. But Finland, 32nd in 2006, will need to show greater depth to reach the top 24.
Denmark: High Bar
Also in this session are the Romanian-influenced Danes. Coached by Romanian-born Marian Rizan, the team includes naturalized Dane Florin Purge. The 38-year-old Purge had been the eldest gymnast in Rotterdam until 41-year-old Espen Jansen became a late addition to the Norwegian lineup.
Denmark was 31st at the 2006 Worlds in Aarhus, and like Finland, will need to improve greatly to jump into the top 24.
Next Up: : Canada, Thailand, Ireland, Great Britain, Greece and Qatar.
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