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Gymnastics preview - 26 July


England have a battle on their hands as they try to retain the menís team title before a sell-out home crowd at the G-MEX Centre.

Phillipe Rizzo

Australia's Phillipe Rizzo in training at G-MEX earlier this week

Their squad of five for Manchester contains three members of the gold medal-winning line-up from four years ago Ė Ross Brewer, Craig Heap and John Smethurst.

They are joined by Kanukai Jackson, the 2002 European Championship vault bronze medallist, and Cuong Thoong.

Canada, who have won the menís team title on three occasions and finished third in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, are led by Alexander Jeltkov, the reigning horizontal bar champion. The squad is also boosted by Kyle Shewfelt, 20, making his Commonwealth Games debut.

Philippe Rizzo, who finished 29th in the all-around competition at the Olympic Games in Sydney and won Australiaís first ever World Championship medal in 2001 (a bronze on the horizontal bar), heads the Australian challenge as they seek to win their first ever menís team title.

South Africa could also mount a strong challenge, having finished fourth in 1998. Their squad includes Simon Hutcheon, the 1998 vault gold medallist.

The Welsh team has been hit by injuries with current British all-around champion David Eaton likely to compete on two pieces of apparatus at the most after injuring his knee in training. An ankle injury to team-mate Gareth Davies leaves Walesí chances in the team competition severely reduced.

The top 24 gymnasts from the menís team competition, up to a maximum of three per nation, will qualify for the menís individual all-around final on Sunday.

Info News Service/mb/pjt

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