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Uchimura earns second gold medal at worlds

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo

Reigning all-around champion Kohei Uchimura made an encore performance, winning the men’s floor exercise to capture his second gold medal at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo on Saturday.

Uchimura, who became the first gymnast in history to win three consecutive world all-around titles a day earlier, won with a total of 15.633 points.

China’s Zou Kai took the silver, 0.133 behind, while third place was shared by Brazil’s Diego Hypolito and Alexander Shatilov of Israel with 15.466.

Uchimura, who also won the silver in the men’s team event here, initially received 6.5 points for difficulty but was later upgraded to 6.7 after an inquiry from Japanese coaches.

The judges had miscalculated the number of twists Uchimura executed on one of his maneuvers.

“I don’t think it was too difficult to judge. The fact that they couldn’t see it means that my twist was probably too fast for them to judge and I’m sort of happy about that,” said Uchimura, who will aim to medal in the parallel and horizontal bars on the final day of apparatuses on Sunday.

He added: “When I saw it was 6.5, I thought it was off because I hadn’t made any big mistakes. . . . The main thing wasn’t getting a medal but showing the fans what I’m capable of.”

It was the first time in 37 years that a Japanese gymnast won the floor exercise at a worlds. Shigeru Kasamatsu won gold at the Varna meet in Bulgaria in 1974.

McKayla Maroney of the United States won the women’s vault title, scoring 15.300 points. Oksana Chusovitina of Germany was second with 14.733 and Phan Thi Ha Thanh of Vietnam was third with 14.666.

Asked about the U.S. women winning three gold medals thus far, including the team event and Jordyn Wieber’s title in the all-around, Maroney said, “It just shows that we are the best and that we come for business. We work really hard and we all deserve it.”

Hungary’s Krisztian Berki took the gold in the men’s pommel horse with a score of 15.833. Cyril Tommasone of France won silver with 15.266 while Louis Smith of Britain claimed the bronze with 15.006.

China’s Chen Yibing was the master of the men’s rings, winning the gold with 15.800. Brazil’s Arthur Zanetti Nabarrete took silver with 15.600, while Koji Yamamuro won the bronze with 15.500. Uchimura (14.633) finished back in sixth.

“I am happy but I moved on my landing, so I’m not completely satisfied. I was hesitant about making another big twist and that led to a bad landing,” Yamamuro said.

Viktoria Komova made a 1-2 finish for Russia with Tatiana Nabieva in the women’s uneven bars. China’s Huang Qiushuang took the bronze.