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  • Writer's pictureConnor Keane

Senior Male Category Set To Take Baku By Storm

With as little as 9 days left until commencing, the senior individual male category is set to be a fierce competition!

The absence of Mizuki Saito and Daniel Bali, the recent occupants of the gold and silver medals, leaves a massive avoid for talents from across the globe to fill. Both experience and skill sets vary from one gymnast to another, which will only result in an incredibly competitive battle to receive the highly sought after accolade of being a world medalist.

So, who has the best chance? Who could be a surprise package? Who is looking to put the icing on the cake of a scintillating career?

We would like to throw some names into the ring, as we list off the 5 competitors that could claim one of the three medals up for grabs.

5. Miquel Mane

Our first suggestion, we've chosen to opt for a newcomer to the senior category. At the young age of 18, Miquel will be travelling to his third world championships event since starting his aerobic gymnastics career. After a promising first performance in Korea, he shocked many with a breathtaking performance in the 2018 edition of the championships, taking home the gold medal individually. He then followed it up the next year with an impressive silver medal placement in the European championships, showing that his 2018 triumph was no one off. With a unique style to his routines bringing a very different, yet captivating performance, we expect to see him thrive in his new age category, and possibly be the leader of a new wave of Spanish talent.

4. Antonio Papazov

A more established competitor in the individual male competition, known for his fantastic showmanship and performance qualities is Antonio Papazov. The Plovdiv born showman is no stranger to the big stage, having participated in 14 FIG recognised events as a senior. He even partook in a recent edition of Bulgaria's got talent, demonstrating that no matter the stage, or audience, he can put on a show that gets the crowd engaged. At 23 years old, he will be looking to add his first individual world medal to his highly decorated collection. After many years of being a top class competitor, only narrowly missing out on medals at various internationals, we tip him to be a solid contender for a highly ranked finish in this event.

3. Lucas Barbosa

One of the longest serving gymnasts of this list, Lucas has competed in the past 4 editions of the world championships. A huge role model to those hoping to climb up the ladder of success, his impressive achievements and notable improvements since starting competing have made him one of the most well respected competitors in our sport. His senior debut took place in the 2012 contest in Sofia, in which he ranked 22nd individually. However, after years of perseverance, he managed to earn a place in the 2018 final, placing 5th after an impressive display. Seen by many as one of the most captivating performers of the sport, we expect him to storm through to the finals, and possibly strike up some trouble for anyone else who is reaching for a place on the podium.

2. Roman Semenov

One competitor who we see has real potential to challenge for the number 1 spot is Roman Semenov. Born in Russia, he is known by all on both the European and world stages. Whether it's taking home medals or being hot on the heels of the podium, Semenov seems to thrive at the top. He reigns as one of the most decorated athletes of recent times, taking home a staggering 10 medals across all categories at major internationals as a senior. In particular, he is beginning to show his talents as an individual competitor more and more since his senior debut in 2016. When it comes down to both quality and consistency, there are very few you could rely on to go out there and get the job done other than himself.

1. Ivan Veloz

The embodiment of the word perseverance! The Mexican is one of the most successful individual gymnasts of the previous decade, having placed in the top 3 in the previous 3 world championships. After a triumphant victory in his home country in 2014, Veloz then proceeded to follow that up with two bronze medals at the championships that proceeded. At the age of 30, he is a well respected veteran of the sport, showing that if you keep working for something you love, you can always reach the goals you seek. From the complexity of his routine, to the way he immaculately executes his movements, we expect to see a near perfect display from the Mexican.

While we have only addressed 5 of the travelling athletes, we still believe that there are a number of individuals who could surprise many and surge to great success. With various countries having already hosted competitions, and certain athletes having more time to prepare in their usual venues than others, now could be a fantastic time for an underdog to shine through and state their name to the world of aerobics.

We would also like to address and applaud the mental strength of our gymnasts taking part in this event. During times of uncertainty and concern that COVID-19 has cast upon us all, it is important to appreciate the incredible efforts that all athletes of this event have put into their preparation. Every single athlete who will step onto the floor in Baku will set their personal challenges aside in the hopes to earn themselves the best performance they achieve.

Feel free to share any questions and/or opinions with us!

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