No doubt eager to move on after last week's controversy, the host team marches into the Ahoy Arena today in Subdivision 4.
The Dutch are without former still rings world champion Yuri van Gelder, who was dropped from the squad last Tuesday after he reportedly relapsed with cocaine. The Dutch federation held two press conferences last week to address the situation with van Gelder, who returned after a one-year ban for testing positive for the drug in June 2009. (The Dutch management announced van Gelder told them he had used cocaine again recently, which he has since denied).
Jeffrey Wammes (Netherlands)
Poland: Floor Exercise
Poland was the unlucky team in 2006, finishing 25th and just missing the chance to advance to the 2007 Worlds. Though without world and Olympic vault champion Leszek Blanik, the Poles have a strong team with frequent World Cup medalists Adam Kierzkowski, Roman Kulesza and Marek Lyszczarz. The top 24 is well within reach in Rotterdam.
Kulesza's wife, Marta Pihan-Kulesza, had a fantastic competition Saturday, qualifying to the all-around final and as an alternate to the beam final.
Iran: Pommel Horse
Iran surprisingly is able to field a full team in Rotterdam. The nation is coming off its biggest success ever in gymnastics: Hadi Khenarinezhad won still rings at last month's World Cup in Ostrava. Another Iranian, Mohammad Ramezanpour, won the bronze medal on vault in Ostrava.
Kazakhstan: Still Rings
Kazakhstan's team includes fan favorite Yernar Yerimbetov, who made his world debut in 2001. Despite numerous surgeries, the 30-year-old plans to do all six events in Rotterdam. He is not trying for the final on vault, however, though he finished fourth at the 2006 Worlds.
Teammate Stanislav Valeyev is trying for the vault final, where he was third at the 2010 Paris World Cup.
Kazakhstan was 23rd at the 2007 Worlds, and will be looking for another top-24 finish.
The Swiss men were seventh in qualification in 2006, but missed the Olympics after falling to 14th in 2007. At the 2010 Europeans, the team was fifth in the final with the second-highest score on parallel bars.
Croatia: Parallel Bars
Croatia is fielding a full six-man team after sending only individuals to previous worlds. The team is best on pommel horse, with 2008 Olympic silver medalist Filip Ude and European bronze medalist Robert Seligman. Ude, 22nd all-around in 2007, is also strong on floor exercise.
The Netherlands: High Bar
The home nation starts out on high bar, where Epke Zonderland hopes to make it to the finals. The Heerenveen native has won two World Cup titles this year (Doha and Cottbus) and was second at both the 2009 Worlds and 2010 Europeans. Though his execution is lacking, Zonderland is able to rack up difficulty points to medal frequently.
With van Gelder gone, the team's other medal hopes fall on Jeffrey Wammes, who won vault at the Ghent World Cup in September. In Ghent, Wammes stuck his new second vault of Yurchenko half-on, layout double-twisting handspring off.
The Dutch were 23rd in 2006 and moved up to 20th in 2007.
Next Up: : Belarus, Australia, Bulgaria, Portugal, the United States and Mixed Group 5!
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