From 20-23 February, Melbourne and Melbourne Arena will become the heart of the gymnastics world as the world’s best athletes, compete at the International Gymnastics Federation’s (FIG) Individual Apparatus Artistic Gymnastics World Cup 2020.
This world-class event returns to Melbourne for the fourth-and-final time in what is said to be the biggest event year, with Olympic qualifying points on offer.
With more then 30 countries and 100 athletes taking part, the 2020 World Cup serves as one of the final qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Gymnastics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Kitty Chiller AM, said it was exciting to welcome World Cup Gymnastics back to Melbourne for the fourth-consecutive year, thanks to the generous help of major partner, Visit Victoria.
“Much like the 2019 edition, the 2020 World Cup serves as a qualifying competition for the Tokyo Olympic Games, and with the qualification places now at a minimum, we have a record number of athletes trying to gain enough points to earn one of the final Olympic spots,” said Ms Chiller.
“With record numbers of competitors and countries attending the event, a global TV reach of more than 500 million homes and sell-out finals crowds, the interest in the event and the focus on Melbourne has never been higher,”
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula MP, echoed Ms Chiller’s thoughts and believes there is no better city to host an event of such sporting significance.
“With our city’s rich Olympic history, it is fitting that this event will serve as the final qualifying competition for athletes seeking selection for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Minister Pakula.
“Since 2014, the Victorian Government has supported more than 70 major events, drawing visitors from far and wide, keeping our bars, restaurants and hotels busy and boosting the Victorian economy.”
For the first time the United States of America will field a team, with superstar Jade Carey set to take the floor alongside Stephen Nedoroscik as their ramp-up their preparations for Tokyo.
There will also be a strong showing from Russian and Japanese gymnasts, who will be looking to take home an array of gold medals and secure their place in history.
The event will also see the return of a number of Olympic gold medalists in the Flying-Dutchman, Epke Zonderland, Vanessa Ferrari and British young-gun, Claudia Fragapane.
Leading a strong Australian team and current number one in the world on Balance Beam on the World Cup circuit, Australia’s own, Emma Nedov said she was embracing the experience of returning to Melbourne and the pressure that came with it.
“I’m excited,” Nedov said.
“It’s a competition with an awesome atmosphere. It’s important for me to try and use these next three events to gain points to qualify for Tokyo so I’m a little nervous and feeling the pressure but I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
This year the event also has added incentive for everyone attending to give generously to support bushfire relief.
“We are all aware of the significant losses suffered by communities around the country in recent months with fires taking a heavy human infrastructure toll,” said Ms Chiller.
“Gymnastics Australia, its member states and territories and Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust are coming together to raise funds for the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
“For every landing stuck by a gymnast competing in the finals, GA will donate $100, with the total figure earned being matched by our state and territories and Melbourne Olympic Park,” Ms Chiller said.
Competition begins at Melbourne Arena on Thursday 20 February at 6pm AEDT.