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Wednesday 28 October 2015
Simone Biles will attempt to become the first woman in history to win three consecutive All-Around titles when the world’s top 24 female gymnasts go head-to-head at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow today.
Biles, who qualified for the final almost four points ahead of her nearest competitor, European Champion Giulia Steingruber, is widely predicted to replicate the form which secured top honours in Antwerp in 2013 and Nanning last year.
If successful, she would also become the first female gymnast since the great Svetlana Khorkina to win three career All-Around titles, in just her third appearance at a World Gymnastics Championships.
At the incredible prospect of achieving a hat-trick of titles at the tender age of 18, Biles said: “It would be pretty sick to win three-in-a-row. But I guess I’ll never know until hopefully it happens.”
Aside from Steingruber, Biles strongest challenge is likely to come from her USA teammate Gaby Douglas. The London 2012 Olympic All-Around gold medallist may feel she has a point to prove considering the margin by which she was outshone by her young compatriot in qualifying – 4.082.
“My personal goal is to bring home some merchandise, and I mean medals by that,” said Douglas, clearly keen to reinstate herself as Biles No.1 challenger ahead of Rio 2016.
Douglas, however, is not the only athlete returning to the SSE Hydro with visions of setting the record straight. Larisa Iordache, by her own standards and those of her Romanian teammates, endured a torrid qualifying experience, placing 16th. Such were the inadequacies of the Romanians that the fourth placed nation from 2014 failed to even make the Team Final, ending qualifying in a lowly 13th .
A strong response is expected of the current World All-Around silver medallist and her bid to bounce back from previous disappointments is set to be one of the most compelling stories of the Championships so far.
British interest comes in the form of Amy Tinkler and Ruby Harrold, buoyed by a first ever ‘Worlds’ medal in the Team final. Having qualified for the All-Around final in 8th and 9th position, respectively, each will fancy a personal best performance that could see them walk away with more silverware in tow.