Devoid of a world or Olympic team medal since 2006, the Russian men’s team may statistically appear to be just creeping back up the global rankings.
Based on their impressive qualifications performance, however, the Russians — who were fifth at the 2014 Worlds, fourth at the 2015 Worlds and second at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games — enter today’s team final at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha at the top of the heap.
Nikita Nagornyy led the Russian gymnasts in qualifications, where they outscored defending world and Olympic bronze medalist China, who qualified second to the final, and defending world and Olympic champion Japan, who qualified third.
The United States, Great Britain, Brazil, Netherlands, and Switzerland also advanced to the team final, while it is the first world team final for the Dutch men's team.
Acknowledging the Russian superiority in qualifications, British gymnast Brinn Bevan also regarded them as gold-medal favourites.
“The Russians did an absolutely amazing job, and if they put in a performance like that in the team final, it’s going to be very, very hard to beat them,” Bevan said.
The Russians clinched 10 spots in the apparatus finals, giving them the most chances for medals. Russia was the only nation to qualify gymnasts to all six apparatus finals, and qualified two gymnasts each to the finals on Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Vault, and Parallel Bars, and one each on Still Rings and Horizontal Bar. China and the United States earned five berths to apparatus finals, while Japan earned only four.
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