Rio stars set for Birmingham as 2018 World Cup nations announced

Birmingham is set to welcome a host of Olympic stars from Rio 2016 next March after the competing nations for the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup were announced in the city today (Wednesday).  

World-class gymnasts from the best ranked nations will be renewing their Olympic rivalries at the two-day event at the Arena Birmingham on March 21st and 22nd with Japan, Russia, China, USA, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands lining up against host nation Great Britain in the women’s event with the men’s event also including Ukraine.

The USA topped the gymnastics medal table in Brazil winning 12 medals including four golds. Great Britain finished in third place behind Russia on six medals with Max Whitlock’s double gold in the men’s floor and pommel among the many memorable GB performances. The GB team will be hoping to produce more memorable moments in front of a passionate Birmingham home crowd.

Each competing nation will select one male and one female gymnast for the world cup event. As hosts Great Britain secure four spots automatically – two for the men’s competition and two for the women’s competition. Countries are expected to announce their gymnasts in the New Year.

The competing world cup nations were revealed at the city’s GMAC (Gymnastics Marshall Arts Centre) where local gymnasts Joe Fraser and Dominick Cunningham are in training as they vie for the two spots in the men’s GB team. Fraser from Edgbaston, who competed in his first ever World Championships earlier this year and Cunningham, a sliver medallist at this year’s British Championships were joined by junior gymnasts and potential GB stars of the future from the Birmingham club.

Joe, who became the British all-around champion earlier this year, said:

“To have the best gymnastic countries in the world here in Birmingham is amazing for the city and just gives me an even bigger incentive to be selected in the GB team. It would be a dream come true for me to part of the team and perform in front of my home crowd so I’ll be doing everything I can to impress the selectors”

GMAC teammate and training partner Cunningham added:

“There are some fantastic teams coming over to Birmingham like Japan who are the current Olympic men’s champions, China who won the all-around competition at the World Championships recently and the Americans who are always really strong. It’s going to be a great event and every country will be in the mix. I think people coming to see gymnastics for the first tine are going to be amazed by what they see.”

The World Cup travels the globe with four events staged in four different countries. Next year’s competition will stop in the USA and Germany before coming to the UK and Birmingham next March with the final World Cup event will taking place in Japan.

Nations compete to be crowned World Cup winners with each individual event securing vital points on the leader board. Medals are awarded at each event, with gymnasts also picking up ranking points in the hope of being crowned the World Cup series champion.

The first night of competition in Birmingham on Wednesday March 21st will see the men battle it out on all the famous apparatus (floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar). It’s then all about the women on the following night as they compete on vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.

Tickets for the event at the Arena Birmingham are on sale now. Prices start from £18 per session, with family tickets available from £48 (booking fees apply). For more information, please visit www.gymnasticsworldcup.co.uk

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