Greece’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Eleftherios Petrounias topped the qualification round in the World Cup Gymnastics 2020 event that was held in Melbourne on Thursday night and is now going for gold and a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Petrounias, a three-time rings world champion, led the way at Melbourne Arena with a score of 15.058.
With the top eight on each apparatus going through, Britain's Commonwealth Games champion Courtney Tulloch ended second on 14.700.
Mahdi Ahmad Kohani of Iran was third-best on 14.633.
“First place at the pre-finals and going for gold! I have wanted to write those lines for a while. Come on let’s go strong, I'm going crazy!” said Petrounias on his social media pages after his win.
With only three World Cup events remaining before the Olympics, Petrounias must win in Melbourne, as only the first-placed gymnast in the standings will qualify for the Olympics. This means that Petrounias will have to win each of the three remaining World Cup events in order to stand a chance of making it to Tokyo.
Should Petrounias win all three remaining events, he would be tied with China’s Liu Yang. Then, Petrounias would need better scores than Yang in order to overtake him via a tiebreaker and get the last spot for Tokyo.
Congratulating him, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos wished him success in the Olympic Games in Tokyo and said, “The wishes of all of us accompany you towards the pinnacle in Tokyo, but regardless of this target, you already top Greek men and women’s respect and love, and not just them. Warm congratulations.”
Good luck Eleftherios!