DOHA: Fresh from Thursday’s All-around victory, double gold-medalist Simone Biles of the USA will shoot for two more golds on the first day of women’s apparatus finals at the Aspire Dome on Friday.
Biles, who is seeking her first world vault title, stomped out a 1.116 advantage over second-ranked Shallon Olsen of Canada in qualifications.
She is clearly favoured in the vault final, whether or not one of her two choices in the final is the world-premiere vault that she easily landed in qualifications but which failed her in the All-around final.
Olsen said her strategy is to stick with the familiar, rather than risk the unnecessary.
“I’m not planning any upgrades, said the 18-year-old Olsen. “I’m going to play it a little bit safe. I’m just looking for consistency and having my landings clean.”
Fifth-place qualifier Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan should also feature in the vault final. The 43-year-old, seven-time Olympian plans to upgrade one of her two vaults in the final as she jumps toward her 10th world vault medal, and 12th overall world medal, since 1991.
Belgian gymnast Nina Derwael’s intricate combinations and polished technique earned her the top qualifying spot for the uneven bars final, but she is not convinced she is the one to beat.
“I hope to hit a clean routine again and get as close to first place as possible,” said Derwael after Thursday’s All-around final, where she outscored her closest competition on uneven bars by a rather convincing 0.375 points.
Biles, who qualified second for the uneven bars final, said Derwael is an elegant threat. “She’s beautiful to watch,” Biles said of the Belgian. “She’s definitely one to keep an eye on.”
Based on qualifications, so is Biles, although her the development of her prowess on uneven bars has required special attention.
“It’s been a challenge in the past and I’m trying to get over that,” said Biles, who has yet to win on uneven bars at the Worlds. “I’m working to
have confidence in myself on the bars and believe in myself. I’ll do my best but it’s still a very mental event for me.”