The World Artistic Gymnastics championships kick off at the O2 arena this week with English athletes setting themselves against the world elite.
Beth Tweddle, the 2006 World and European Champion and World Cup Final winner on the asymmetric bars is one of the favourites for a medal. Compatriot Becky Downie (GBR) also has a chance for this final. Tweddle may also shine on the floor where Olympic champion Sandra Isbasa is ruled out with injury. Marissa King also has a chance to reach the final in the women’s vault.
In the men’s competition look out for Louis Smith and Daniel Keatings on the men’s pommel horse although there will be strong competition for medals from the Hungarian and Chinese gymnasts.
These championships will be a benchmark for the new Olympic cycle (2009- 20012) leading to the Olympic Games, which Britain's capital will host in 2012. By tradition, this competition gives a clear idea about the transformation in the ranks of stars, i.e. who of the famous "old guard" will stay on board and try to defend their positions over the next four years and who are the emerging stars who may podium in Delhi and in London 2012.
London 2009 will be only the second time in the long history of the World Championships that Great Britain has hosted the event, the first being Birmingham 1993, when the event held at the NEC is remembered for the excellence of its organisation and the Silver medal on Floor Exercise by British gymnast Neil Thomas.