8 European gymnasts to watch at this week's World Championships

Comeback kid: French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered a leg break at the 2016 Olympics but is back and competing for honours in Canada

It’s a big week in the world of gymnastics as the sport’s greatest competitors gather to compete in the 2017 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montréal, Canada.

Starting today, more than 500 gymnasts from 80 countries will gather at the Olympic Stadium as they battle to earn the right to count themselves among the world’s elite. Many of those competing in Canada will also have one eye on the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow, including next year’s host nation.

Great Britain have picked a strong side as they aim to emulate their success at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, which seen them win five medals in front of an enthusiastic home support. See a full rundown of the Great Britain team HERE.

British Gymnastics’ team of ten will face plenty of competition though with the likes of USA, Russia and Greece among those in the hunt for medals.

We’ve picked out eight European gymnasts to watch at this year’s World Champs, who’ll also be in the frame for a starring role at Glasgow 2018:

Max Whitlock (GBR)
Leading the medals charge for Great Britain is Glasgow 2018 sporting ambassador Max Whitlock, who is making his first appearance at a major tournament since clinching two Olympic gold medals at Rio 2016.

The World Championships have traditionally been a happy hunting ground for the 24-year old who won three medals at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, including a historic gold on the pommel horse.

Flanked by a strong British Gymnastics team, Max will be hoping to mark his comeback in style in Canada.

Larisa Iordache (ROU)
Romania are the third most successful country in the history of the World Artistic Championships, but performed poorly at the 2015 Championships where they picked up one silver and one bronze medal.

21-year-old Larisa Iordache will be among those looking to redeem Romania’s standing in world gymnastics in Canada.

Comparisons have already been drawn between Larisa and Romanian gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci, and the five-time European Champion will be hoping to cement her growing reputation with a first gold medal at World level.

Samir Ait Said (FRA)
For French gymnast Samir Ait Said, it’s a relief just to be competing after he suffered a horrific leg break during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The 27-year-old former European Champion snapped his tibia and fibula bones in his left leg upon qualifying but has battled back to fitness in time for the trip to Canada and will be among the favourites this time around.

Whatever he achieves, Gymnastics fans will just be glad to see Samir back in action.

Georgia Mae Fenton (GBR)
The 16-year-old Londoner is one of British Gymnastics most exciting young talents and will be eager to show that she can compete amongst the world’s best in Canada.

Confident on bars, Georgia is an elegant performer and enjoyed success at both Espoir and Junior level before taking bronze in the Junior British all-around in 2015 as well as winning gold on the bars.

As a younger member of the Great Britain team Georgia will be hoping to gain from her experience and help the British girls to yet another Team all-around medal.

Nina Derwael (BEL)
Nina showed her class by becoming Belgium’s first European Gymnastics Champion, triumphing in the uneven bars at the 2017 Championships in Romania earlier this year.

After proving her talent at a young age, Nina has gone onto win various junior accolades and that success has followed her into her senior career.

One of several exciting young European gymnasts to watch at this week’s World Championships.

Eleftherios Petrounias (GRE)
One of the world’s biggest gymnastic stars, Eleftherios will be aiming to retain the gold medal he won at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow.

Will still be living on cloud nine following his Olympic gold medal win at Rio 2016 and is the name to beat on his favoured apparatus of the rings.

Has been the reigning European champion on the rings since 2015 and looks likely to be one of the stars in Canada (and at Glasgow 2018!)

Angelina Melinkova (RUS)
One of those looking to make a statement in Montreal is Russian gymnast Angelina Melinkova.

Aged just 17, she has packed a wealth of success into her short career and was part of the Russian team that won silver in the team competition at last year’s Olympic Games.

She is also a 2016 European champion in the team event and 2017 European champion in the floor exercise. Will be looking to replicate that form onto the world stage at this week’s championships.

Joe Fraser (GBR)
Coming straight off the back of winning the all-around title at the 2017 British Championships, Joe is another gymnast who’ll be looking to make a name for himself in Montreal.

Joe enjoyed a successful career at junior level, with wins at the 2015 European Youth Olympics and the 2016 European Junior Championships. 

Strengthened his blossoming reputation with a 5th place finish in the all-around at the 2017 European Championships in Romania amongst a highly competitive European field.

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