The FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships is coming up, and this event is especially exciting because it is the first time this competition has ever been held! Previously only senior gymnasts could compete in the World Championships. By giving junior gymnasts their own competition, FIG Artistic Gymnastics can keep Senior World Championships the same as they always have been, but also give the juniors a shot.
At Junior Worlds, upcoming gymnasts will experience the pressure of competing in such a big meet as they approach senior status and will be more prepared coming into future large meets. It is also a nice competition for junior gymnasts who may fade out in the future for whatever reason before they get a chance to compete at Senior World Championships.
FloGymnastics wrote in detail about the nominative roster for Junior Worlds. Since then, USA Gymnastics hosted Junior World Trials and named the official roster. Team USA is sending Skye Blakely, Kayla DiCello, and Sydney Barros as competitors, and Konnor McClain as a traveling alternate.
The first ever FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships is taking place in Gyor, Hungary, June 27-30. Every country competing is sending lots of tough competitors. Here are just some of the many talented gymnasts to watch at Junior World Championships!
1. Skye Blakely - USA
Skye Blakely is sure to make a name for herself at Junior World Championships. Despite being just 14 years old, she won the Junior World Trials and is the U.S.’s top contender going into the meet. She not only placed first at trials, but did so by many tenths. Her all-around score was a 56.500, more than seven tenths ahead of second place. Competing from WOGA Gymnastics in Frisco, Texas, Blakely was named to the team automatically after her first-place finish.
Although she is expected to contribute greatly to the team score and hopefully place individually in the all-around, she could come home with some event titles as well. Blakely is known for her strong vault and bar skills. She competes a double twisting Yurchenko on vault and has placed in big meets on both vault and bars.
2. Vladislava Urazova - Russia
It’s hard to pick just one Russian gymnast to showcase since the Eastern European powerhouse has such a strong group this year, but Urazova is one to keep an eye out for. At the Russian Junior Championships in mid-May, she took gold on both vault and bars in event finals, as well as first place all-around with a score of 57.533. She also scored silver on floor at that meet.
At the 2019 Jesolo Trophy meet, Urazova took gold on bars and silver on floor at event finals, and took silver all-around with a 55.200. She has a history of medaling at large competitions, as her routines are steady under pressure and consistent.
3. Wei Xiaoyuan - China
China has a strong roster going to Junior World Championships and has a great chance of doing well at this competition. Like Russia, it is hard to highlight just one of China’s gymnasts since the team is very deep, but one to look for is Wei Xiaoyuan.
Born in August 2004, Xiaoyuan competed recently at the Chinese Championships and scored well, ending with a 54.150 all-around. Beam is a strong event for her. At the Chinese Championships she scored over a 14 on that event and placed on it at the 2018 WOGA Championships, but she has strength as an all-around gymnast as well, usually scoring high on all four events. In Jesolo 2019, she was less than two tenths away from scoring over a 13 on all four events.
4. Jessica Gadirova - Great Britain
Coming off of a third place all-around finish at the 2019 Flanders International Team Challenge in Belgium, Gadirova is sure to do well at this meet. Her 52.232 all-around gave her third, and she also took third on beam with a 13.166. Her vault and floor were above a 13 as well, giving her a good outlook on the all-around for this meet, and letting her contribute for Great Britain at the Junior World Championships.
Gadirova has other international experience under her belt as well, having placed second all-around at the 2018 Rushmoore RoseBowl International. Gadirova is also the 2019 English vault champion and the floor bronze medalist.
5. Veronica Mandriota - Italy
Born in 2005, Mandriota is an important asset for Italy’s team. Italy’s Junior World Championships roster has gone through some changes, but Mandriota has been on it from the start. She is a rock for this team and will likely contribute many scores.
Mandriota helped her team take second at the recent 2019 Flanders International Team Challenge in Belgium and individually placed fourth all-around in the junior category. She also medaled on vault, taking the bronze with a 13.933.