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Uchimura earns first national title

JOETSU, Niigata Pref. (Kyodo) Gymnast Kohei Uchimura, the men’s all-around silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, showed a solid overall performance to win his first national championship crown on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Uchimura racked up the highest scores in the floor exercises and pommel horse, the first two disciplines, and went on to become the first teenager in 12 years to win the men’s national all-around title with 91.900 points.

Naoya Tsukahara, a member of Japan’s gold medal-winning team at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was also 19 when he claimed the first of his five national all-around crowns. He was 14th in Saturday’s final.

In the women’s all-around competition, 16-year-old Koko Tsurumi won for the third year in a row with 60.800 points, 1.900 ahead of Olympic teammate Yuko Shintake.