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World Cup Season Begins in Melbourne, Chicago
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The 2018 FIG World Cup season kicks off February 22-25 in Melbourne with an apparatus-only tournament, followed a week later by the American Cup in Chicago, the first of four all-around competitions this year. Pictured: Georgia-Rose Brown (Australia)

The 2018 FIG World Cup season kicks off later this month in Melbourne with an apparatus-only tournament, followed a week later by the American Cup on March 3 in Chicago, the first of four all-around competitions this year.

The Melbourne World Cup features a full roster of gymnasts from Australia and China. Japan is also sending four male gymnasts, including 2013 world pommel horse champion Kohei Kameyama. World champions Morgan Hurd (United States) and Kenzo Shirai (Japan) headline the 43rd American Cup.

The 2018 season is the busiest yet for the FIG, with a record 14 competitions across four continents from February to November. The spring schedule is so packed that apparatus and all-around World Cup events will take place simultaneously on back-to-back weekends in March. The 3rd AGF Trophy will return March 15-18 to Baku, while the 35th EnBW DTB-Pokal Cup takes place March 17-18 in Stuttgart. The 11th Doha World Cup will be held March 21-24 at the Aspire Dome — site of this fall's world championships — as the Birmingham World Cup takes place March 21-22 in England.

The overall winner of the four all-around competitions this spring — taking place in Chicago, Stuttgart, Birmingham and Tokyo — will again be a country rather than an individual gymnast. The same nations are invited to compete in each competition, and gymnasts will amass points for their respective countries based on their rankings.

2018 FIG World Cup Calendar
February 22-252nd Melbourne World CupMelbourneApparatus World Cup
March 343rd American CupChicago, IllinoisAll-Around World Cup
March 15-183rd AGF TrophyBakuApparatus World Cup
March 17-1835th EnBW DTB-Pokal CupStuttgartAll-Around World Cup
March 21-22FIG World Cup Birmingham, EnglandAll-Around World Cup
March 21-2411th Doha World Cup DohaApparatus World Cup
April 14FIG World Cup TokyoAll-Around World Cup
May 24-27Grand Prix Osijek Žito Challenge CupOsijekApparatus World Challenge Cup
May 31-June 3FIG World Challenge CupKoperApparatus World Challenge Cup
June 14-17FIG World Challenge CupGuimarãesApparatus World Challenge Cup
July 6-8FIG World Challenge CupMersinApparatus World Challenge Cup
September 21-23FIG World Challenge CupSzombathelyApparatus World Challenge Cup
September 27-30FIG World Challenge CupParisApparatus World Challenge Cup
November 22-2543rd Turnier der MeisterCottbusApparatus World Cup

In the all-around series, Germany is the defending World Cup champions for the women, with Kim Bui taking second at the American Cup and Tabea Alt winning in Stuttgart and London last spring. Oleg Vernyayev led Ukraine to victory with a second-place at the American Cup and victories in Stuttgart and London as well. (Vernyayev, who has competed without a break since 2012, will be sitting out this year because of leg and shoulder injuries.)

Known as the AT&T American Cup since 2011, the tournament lost its title sponsor last month in more fallout from the Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics is organizing the event without the help of AT&T, which joined Proctor & Gamble, Under Armour and Hershey's in canceling or not renewing their support for the troubled federation.

Neverthless, the competition has attracted an impressive field. Hurd will be joined by 2017 U.S. junior champion Maile O'Keefe, world floor exercise champion Mai Murakami (Japan), recent Elite Canada champion Brooklyn Moors, and Olympians Elisabeth Seitz (Germany) and Mao Yi. Along with O'Keefe, tricksters Fabiane Brito (2017 Brazilian junior champion) and Sanna Veerman (2017 Dutch junior all-around runner-up). British veteran Kelly Simm, a member of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2015 World Championships, rounds out the women's field.

Shirai, the world all-around bronze medalist and world champion on floor and vault, has said he is on a mission to stay among the top group of all-arounders in 2018. Reigning champion Yul Moldauer (United States) will attempt to defend his title in Chicago. His University of Oklahoma teammate Allan Bower, who took second to Moldauer at last year's U.S. championships, will be competing in his second all-around World Cup after finishing seventh last year in Stuttgart.

China's Sun Wei is slated for his third consecutive American Cup, finishing third in 2016 and seventh in 2017. Great Britain's James Hall, fifth last year in Stuttgart, will be making his American Cup debut. The lanky Petro Pakhnyuk, who returned to Ukraine last year after several years competing for Azerbaijan, is taking up the reigns in Vernyayev's absent as his country's top all-arounder. 2016 Olympian Francisco Barretto (Brazil) and 2017 world all-around finalists Philipp Herder (Germany) and Joel Plata (Spain) round out the men's field.

Seitz and Herder headline the Stuttgart World Cup along with three-time Olympian Marcel Nguyen. The strong lineup also includes Olympic gold medalist Yusuke Tanaka, British veteran Dan Purvis, Russian Olympians Angelina Melnikova and David Belyavsky, and Americans Jordan Chiles and Akash Modi.

The British gymnasts scheduled for the Birmingham World Cup were named on January 30, with the four gymnasts selected visiting a city school to make the announcement. European champion Ellie Downie will return to competition after missing last year's world championships with an injury. James Hall and 2016 Olympians Nile Wilson and Claudia Fragapane will also represent Great Britain at Arena Birmingham.

Melnikova, Nguyen, Pakhnyuk and Sun Wei will also be in Birmingham, alongside Russian Olympian Nikita Nagornyy, Japan's Hitomi Hatakeda and Americans Margzetta Frazier and Donathan Bailey.

The 2019-2020 World Cup circuit will serve as an individual qualifer to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

2nd Melbourne World Cup
February 22-25, 2018

Women's Competitors
Georgia-Rose Brown
Alexandra Eade
Georgia Godwin
Naomi Lee
Maddie Leydin
Rianna Mizzen
Isabel Barbosa
Chen Yile
Du Siyu
Li Qi
Liu Jinru
Aruna Budda Reddy
Pranati Nayak
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi
Yueh Tan Ing
Stella Ashcroft
Maia Fishwick
Estella Matthewson
Charlotte Ryan
Nadine Joy Nathan
Ng Le En
Zeng Qiyan
Tjaša Kysslef
Men's Competitors
Michael Mercieca
Mitchell Morgans
Christopher Remkes
Heath Thorpe
Michael Tone
Luke Wadsworth
Luís Porto
Gustavo Polato
Ge Shihao
Ma Yue
Tan Di
Weng Hao
Wu Guanhua
Wu Xiaoming
Matija Baron
Kristijan Vugrinski
Ashish Kumar
Rakesh Patra
Keisuke Asato
Kohei Kameyama
Hidetaka Miyachi
Kazuyuki Takeda
Danil Baturin
Yerbol Jantykov
Milad Karimi
Azizbek Kudratullayev
Nariman Kurbanov
Robert Tvorogal
Phay Xing Loo
Fu Jie Tan
Robert Honiball
David Bishop
Ethan Dick
Kyleab Ellis
Rafael Ablaza
Carlos Edriel Yulo
Aizat Bin Muhammad Jufrie
Hoe Wah Toon
Lim Kaeson
Tay Wei An Terry
Yeo Xong Sean
Sašo Bertoncelj
Rok Klavora
Lee Chih Kai

43rd American Cup
March 3, 2018, Chicago, Illinois

Women's Competitors
Fabiane Brito
Brooklyn Moors
Mao Yi
Kelly Simm
Elisabeth Seitz
Mai Murakami
Sanna Veerman
Morgan Hurd
Maile O'Keefe
Men's Competitors
Francisco Barretto
Sun Wei
James Hall
Philipp Herder
Kenzo Shirai
Joel Plata
Petro Pakhnyuk
Allan Bower
Yul Moldauer

35th EnBW DTB-Pokal Cup
March 17-18, 2018, Stuttgart

Women's Competitors
Rose-Kaying Woo
Zhang Jin
Georgia Mae Fenton
Elisabeth Seitz
Sarah Voss
Nagi Kajita
Naomi Visser
Angelina Melnikova
Jordan Chiles
Men's Competitors
Sun Wei
Dan Purvis
Marcel Nguyen
Philipp Herder
Yusuke Tanaka
Frank Rijken
David Belyavsky
Petro Pakhnyuk
Akash Modi

2018 Birmingham World Cup
March 21-22, Birmingham, England

Women's Competitors
Ellie Downie
Claudia Fragapane
Thaís Santos
Liu Jieyu
Sarah Voss
Hitomi Hatakeda
Vera van Pol
Angelina Melnikova
Margzetta Frazier
Men's Competitors
James Hall
Nile Wilson
Lucas Bitencourt
Sun Wei
Marcel Nguyen
Shogo Nonomura
Nikita Nagornyy
Petro Pakhnyuk
Donothan Bailey
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