Alexander Shatilov

Play-by-Play: Men's qualifications at the 2019 European Championships, Subdivision 3

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Rotation 1: The heaviest hitters, namely world champion Artur Dalaloyan and Nikita Nagornyy of Russia, are now on the floor. Here we go!

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), FX: Front 2/1 to Randi, nice. Front layout to double front pike half out, stuck. Double doubl etuck, small hop. 2.5 to front 2/1, hop. 1.5 to Rudi. Love his attention to detail as well. Triple full, hop back. Claps his hands as he walks off. One done. 14.966.

Brinn Bevan (GBR), HB: Tak half, a tad overcooked, swings a little to the side. Kovacs, nice. Kolman, also good. Endos. Stalder. Hop full. Drills the double double layout into the ground. Nice stick for the 2018 British champion to begin his day.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), HB: Triple back, bounces out of bounds though with both feet I think. Double front pike half out, small hop back. Front 2/1 to double front. 2.5 to front 1/1 to front layout half. Double double tuck side pass, steps back and out of bounds again. Full out tucked last pass, making it look easy. Well, he won’t be pleased with the out of bounds, but lots of really hard gymnastics in that routine. 14.566. No floor final for him — Dalaloyan and Lankin are ahead of him.

Max Whitlock (GBR), HB: Yama. Hop 1.5. Endo. Stalder. Hop full. Quite meticulous work so far. Double double layout, ooh, has to take two big steps back to keep it on his feet. Welcome back to high bar, Max.

Alexander Shatilov (ISR)< HB: Kovacs. Tkatchev half. Tak half. Stalder. Full twisting double layout. 13.7.

Rayderley Zapata (ESP), FX: The man with the highest hurdles in gymnastics opens with a 1.5 to front double pike. Double front pike half out, stuck. Double front tuck half out, stuck again. Arabian double front half out. Stylish — middle splits to press hadnstand. 2.5 to front layout 1/1. The Spanish are coming alive. Pulls around his double layout to end. That is very worthy of a final. He’ll get it, too — 14.7.

Lukas Dauser (GER), PH: Hit routine for one of Germany’s sleekest gymnasts after an 8.933 disaster from teammate Felix Remuta just before him. This score will be considerably better.

Rotation 2:

Dominick Cunningham (GBR), FX: The 2018 European floor champ shows a stuck double double layout to beghin. Double front half out, terrific. 1.5 to front 2/1, no trouble. Double double tuck, small hop. 2.5 to Rudi side pass. Triple full, nearly stuck, tiny hop back. Impressive routine.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), PH: Powered through a clean set. 14.1.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), PH: Ditto. 14.066.

Casimir Schmidt (NED), VT: Very good Tsuk 2.5, just a small hop on landing.

Artem Dolgopyat (ISR), FX: Front double tuck with 1.5 twists, stuck. Front 1/1 to Randi. Double double tuck, great landing. 2.5 to front 2/1. 1.5 to Rudi, stuck. He’s cleaned up well on this event. Arabian double front half out, floats to the ground for another stuck landing. Final! 15.366 — lead!

Nick Klessing (GER), SR: Great routine until he overcooks his triple back dismount and sits down.

Alexander Shatilov (ISR), FX: : 2.5 to front 2/1. Double double tuck, stuck. 1.5 to front 1/1 to Rudi. Double full, stuck. Russians. Good full in to end. Maybe two finals for Israel on floor! Alexander claps after his final pass.

Oliver Hegi (SUI) has made some sort of mistake on high bar and will not defend his European title on this event.

Marios Georgiou (CYP), FX: Double double tuck. Front layout to front 2/1, really nice stick. 2.5 to Rudi. Double full. Stuck triple full. A very nice routine, though given what else we’ve seen on floor today it’s unlikely to make finals.

Rotation 3:

Brinn Bevan (GBR), PH: Hit routine! Good Busnari, flairs, pirouetting dismount. Hit routine for Brinn.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), SR: Maltese, quite good. Iron cross. Piked Yama, tucked Yama, roll to cross. Pull to planche. Full twisting double layout, basically stuck. Great stuff. 14.566.

Max Whitlock (GBR), PH: Scissor to handstand, circles, Russians on a pommel, Busnari, traveling flairs, Magyar, traveling Russian across the horse. Russians on the end. pirouetting dismount. It’s like, every hard thing you can do on pommel horse, done one after the other. Respect. 15.033 takes him into the lead.

Casimir Schmidt (NED), PB: Solid set with double front dismount, small hop. 13.366.

Epke Zonderland (NED), PB: Diamidov with extra spin, inside Diamadov. Front somie catch with his hands. Double pike with a small hop back. 14.366. That’s good for seventh, so he might squeak into the final.

Nick Klessing (GER), VT: Roche with a huge step forward.

Out of the corner of my eye, caught a stuck double front from newcomer Mustafa Arca of Turkey. Every country has their pet event — the British have pommel, the Russians have floor, the Americans like high bar. Turkey’s is definitely p-bars.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), SR: Maltese, excellent — so good he does it twice. Iron cross. Piked Yama, tucked Yama, roll to cross. Planche. Double double tuck, stuck. Great routine there too.

Felix Remuta (GER), VT: Roche with a hop and Tsuk 2.5 with a hop/step.

Petro Pakhniuk (GER), VT: Rolls backward out of his Tsuk double full. Oops.

Benjamin Gischard (SUI), FX: The final gymnast in this rotation has everyone’s attention, and keeps it by sticking most of his tumbling passes. Very nice routine, and he’s delighted with it too, clapping right after he salutes.

Rotation 4:

Andrey Likhovitskiy (BLR), FX: Front 2/1. 1.5 to front 1/1. Roundoff, layout. Double full. 2.5 to end. Everything very clean if not terribly difficult. Likhovitskiy, who lives and trains in Germany, is likely doing this to get an all-around score — that’ll be his ticket to Tokyo come this fall.

Nikita Nagornyy (NED), VT: Jogs into a fantastic Dragulescu, just a small hop. Fantastic. 14.833. Tsuk double pike, also excellent. 14.799 average.

Epke Zonderland (NED), HB: Cassina to Kovacs, nice. Kolman, great. Stalder 1.5. Tak half. Stalder. Hop full for good measure. And stuck double double layout. We’ve seen this routine or a slight variation of it for years now, and what’s stunning is how down to a science he’s got it, and how easy he makes it look. The only guy here combining Kovacs releases, and it puts us on the floor as always. 14.533 moves him into the lead ahead of Tin Sbric.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), VT: Casual Yurchenko triple full with a hop back. As he does. 14.8. Second vault is a casual handspring front double pike, with just a little hop on the landing. 14.866 average. The vault final is going to be wild. If it were possible, Russia could go 1-2-3-4 in Europe on men’s vault.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), PB: Clips one of his feet on a rail on his first element but it doesn’t deter him.

Lukas Dauser (GER), PB: Terrific control on this routine from Germany’s p-bar Picasso. Beautiful work all the way through. Double front half out landed a little low, and he hopped the landing, but the rest was superb. 14.533 is his score following an accepted inquiry.

Courtney Tulloch (GBR), SR: Good interior, step on his full twisting double layout with a hop.

Yahor Sharamkou (BLR), FX: Opens by nearly sticking a triple back tuck, closes by sitting down an Arabian double front. Ah, gymnastics…

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), PB: 15.0 for a smashingly good routine. Moves into second on p-bars at this point.

Cyril Tommasone (FRA), PH: Leg separation on Russians the only flaw in an otherwise hit routine.

Rotation 5:

Casimir Schmidt (NED), FX: Double front half out. Front double pike, stuck. Front 2/1, front 1/1. 2.5 to front layout half. Russians. Roundoff, Arabian double front half out. Triple full, small hop. Casimir’s happy with that. 14.233.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), HB: Tak full. Tak half to Kovacs. Kolman, caught close to the bar and has to kip out of it. One armed giant…double double layout with a small step back. 13.166.

Lukas Dauser (GER), HB: Tak full to Yama. Kovacs. Tkatchev. Hop 1.5. One armed giant. Tak full. Full twisting double layout with a pretty big step forward, alas. Otherwise a nice routine.

Alexander Shatilov (ISR), VT: DTY, hop back.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), PB: Fantastic routine capped with double front pike half out dismount!

Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), HB: German giant to stalder. Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. Tak full. Tak half. Hop full. Full twisting double layout with a step.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), PB: 15.133 after a fabulous routine. He takes the lead on this event. His duel with Dalaloyan for the AA title is going to be something else.

The rotation ends with an unfortunate injury to Britain’s Dominick Cunningham on vault on a roundoff, half on, front double full off. Cunningham seemed to get lost in the air, bailed out and landed on a straight leg on the mat. He signaled for help immediately and was assisted on the mat by medics, who eventually wheeled him out on a stretcher.

Rotation 6:

Felix Remuta (GER), FX: Lands double double tuck on his hands and knees. Cool point in his routine is his back pike to prone position. Dismounts with triple full with a large step back. 13.266.

Marcel Nguyen (GER), FX: Double double layout, just a little hop forward. Front double pike half out, a little low. The rest was clean. 14.1.

Nikita Nagornyy (RUS), HB: Tak full, swings the wrong way, oops. Tak half. Tkatchev. Tkatchev half. One armed giant. Stalder. Double double layout with a hop back. For all their tumbling/vaulting prowess, the Russian guys often swing high bar a bit…gingerly. This was a good routine, but no exception. 13.933.

Artur Dalaloyan (RUS), HB: Cassina. PIke Kovacs. Layout Tkatchev half. Layout Tkatchev. Endo. Yamawaki. Stalder. Full twisting double layout, stuck. Fantastic day for the world champion! 14.666 puts him first on high bar as well. 87.930 all-around total today.

Krisztofer Meszaros (HUN), FX: At every Euros there’s a young guy who doesn’t look old enough to be a senior, and here in Szczecin, Meszaros is it. Double front, well done. Front 2/1. Randi. 2.5 to front 1/1. Triple full to end. He may be young, but he’s got the skills.

World champions, medalists lead Doha World Cup qualification

Carlos Yulo of the Philippines is the leader after qualification at the Doha World Cup in Qatar.

Carlos Yulo of the Philippines is the leader after qualification at the Doha World Cup in Qatar.

Six gymnasts from five different nations topped the standings in qualification at the Doha World Cup Wednesday and Thursday in the Qatari capital.

Doha brings back excellent memories for Carlos Yulo of the Philippines, who won his first world medal — a bronze on floor — at the Aspire Dome last October. Yulo was formidable in his return there Wednesday, where he posted the highest score on the event (14.6) to top 2017 World all-around champion Xiao Ruoteng (14.533).

Belgium’s Jonathan Vrolix posted an impressive 14.5 for third, proving that he’s a threat for the podium among a finals field that also includes world medalist Alexander Shatilov of Israel, Turkish star Ahmet Onder and Australian daredevil Chris Remkes, who tumbles a triple twisting double layout.

In the absence of Artem Dolgopyat of Israel, who already has two first-place finishes in the series, Yulo, who won floor at the Melbourne World Cup last month, is almost sure to move ahead of him in the actual rankings, but more important is the fact that Yulo has the chance to get another win here. In this game, a gymnast’s top three finishes count toward their standing in the World Cup rankings, meaning that three wins on the world cup circuit almost assures them the Olympic berth.

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World bronze medalist Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei, who also won in Baku, continued his streak of success with the top qualifying score on pommel horse, beating 2013 world champion Kohei Kameyama, the champion from Baku. Lee had a catastrophic performance in Azerbaijan and didn’t even qualify for the final, but by that point he’d already racked up two wins on the circuit, and a third win all but assures him the Olympic spot. Lee scored 15.166, ahead 2016 Olympian Harutyun Merdinyan of Armenia, who scored 14.966.

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Bolstered by a 6.4 D-score, China’s Lan Xingyu qualified first on rings (15.166), ahead of Vahagn Davtyan (14.966) and Artur Tomvasyan (14.908). On vault, Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov used his Dragulescu and excellent Tsuk double pike to excellent effect (14.916), putting him ahead of resurgent 2012 Olympic champion Yang Hak-seon (14.9), whose patented handspring front triple full is as good as ever despite an injury-filled few years.

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Two-time world champion Zou Jingyuan leads parallel bars by a monster 15.866, 1.133 ahead of his nearest competitor. It’s been quite awhile since an event specialist has been so dominant that he or she could win with a fall, but then again, Zou is one of the great parallel bar workers in history.

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On high bar, 2017 world champion Tin Srbic continues his prolonged battle with world champion Epke Zonderland. Srbic won round one in Doha; Zonderland, whose performances indicate that he understands well the difference between qualifications and finals, finished fourth. The surprise in the group was Kazakhstan’s Milad Karimi, who showed a 6.2 D-score routine (higher than both Srbic and Zonderland) for an impressive 14.3, just 0.033 behind Srbic. Japan’s Hidetaka Miyachi, another gymnast with a possibility of winning the world rankings crown, qualified sixth to the final.

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Hugely competitive fields on each apparatus have led to some surprising shutouts, including three-time world champion Marian Draguelscu (ninth on floor), 2010 high bar world champion Zhang Chenglong (10th on high bar), Olympic rings bronze medalist Denis Ablyazin of Russia (14th on rings) and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Diego Hypolito, who showed a relatively simple 4.7 difficulty routine for 11.7 (40th on floor).

Preview: Olympic, World champions round out men’s roster at Baku World Cup

Team Japan in Baku earlier this week. Photo: Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation.

Team Japan in Baku earlier this week. Photo: Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation.

Call it the Battle of Baku -- the individual apparatus kings of the sport from around the globe are gathering in the Azerbaijani capital this weekend to fight for world cup ranking points that for some will translate into Olympic qualification spots. Here’s what to expect in the men’s competition.

Men’s Floor Exercise: The best and the brightest

The men’s floor field includes Olympic medalists Marian Dragulescu of Romania and Diego Hypolito of Brazil, both of whom are also past world champions on the event. Three others -- Israelis Artem Dolgopyat and Alexander Shatilov and Carlos Yulo of the Philippines -- are world medalists, with Yulo having won the last round in Melbourne a few weeks ago. Great Britain’s Dominick Cunningham and Australian Chris Remkes, who showed a triple twisting double layout in Melbourne, could also factor in.

Pommel Horse: A gathering of greats

Old guard, new guard, or somewhere in the middle? Many of the greats of horse of the past decade or so will meet in Baku. The latest wunderkind is the bespectacled Weng Hao of China, one of a number of specialists gunning for an individual berth to Tokyo. Other emerging talents include European pommel champion Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland and reigning world bronze medalist Lee Chih-Kai of Chinese Taipei. Among the veterans, there’s longtime Croatian great Filip Ude, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist on the event, 2013 world champion Kohei Kameyama of Japan and French standout Cyril Tommasone. The man who could surprise many? Iran’s Saeedreza Keikha, who has two moves named after him on the pipe.

Still Rings: A mighty force

Projected to be one of the biggest battles of all, this final will be world championship-worthy. Among the contenders: 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ablyazin of Russia, reigning world bronze medalist Marco Lodadio of Italy, double world medalist You Hao of China, Ukrainian strongman Igor Radivilov, France’s Samir Ait Said, Britain’s Courtney Tulloch and Turkey’s Ibrahim Colak. The talent level boggles the mind.

Men’s Vault: The (other) Jump! boys

Take one Olympic champion (Korea’s Yang Hak-seon), a double Olympic medalist (Ablyazin), the man who did the now-forbidden handspring triple front on the Olympic-stage (Radivilov) and the man who gave the eponymous Dragulescu its name? It’s hard to know where to begin. One lesser-known name to watch as well is France’s Loris Frasca, who is just beginning to come into his own on an event where the French have typically excelled.

Parallel Bars: China vs. the world

If rings is the most competitive men’s event in Baku, p-bars may to be the least. 2015 world champion You Hao is the biggest name among specialists on this apparatus, and China has also entered newcomer Du Yixin, who, if he’s anything like the Chinese tend to be on this event, is beyond superb. Otherwise, there’s room for surprise from someone like Russian all-around silver medalist Vladyslav Polyashov, Japan’s Kaito Sugimoto or Turkey’s Colak, or a veteran, like Belarusian Olympian Andrei Likhovitskiy or Romania’s Cristian Bataga.

High Bar: Return of the big four

The kings of swing -- 2012 Olympic champion Epke Zonderland, 2017 World champion Tin Srbic of Croatia, 2010 World gold medalist Zhang Chenglong of China, and Japan’s Hidetaka Miyachi, who has no world title to his name but does the most difficult element anyone’s ever seen on the event with exceptionally good form, will each get their turn to prove that they are the champion of today. The day after, it will be back to the gym to prepare for the next one.