Kohei Uchimura became the first five-time consecutive men’s champion of the NHK Cup on Sunday, when 17-year-old Asuka Teramoto and Ryohei Kato earned the two available berths to this year’s world championships.
Uchimura, who added London Olympic gold to his three world championships in the men’s individual all-around, finished first after two days at Yoyogi National Gymnasium with 273.575 points. Uchimura was already guaranteed a spot in the worlds in Antwerp, Belgium, starting on Sept. 30.
“Overall, I was able to avoid mistakes and hit my landings,” Uchimura said. “It was close to my ideal performance. However, it should be obvious that I went with a lower level of difficulty today. If you perform difficult techniques, you can’t be perfect and you can’t be satisfied.”
Teramoto won the women’s competition — and a trip to Belgium with the national team — with a score of 82.500.
“I’m glad I was able to get through all four disciplines without a mistake,” Teramoto said. “I won the title I was aiming for, and now feel a duty to perform well in international competition.”
Kato barely beat out Juntendo University teammate Shogo Nonomura for the other berth to the worlds. Kato’s score at this event, combined with half his points from May’s All-Japan Championships totaled 266.075 points, 0.275 more than Nonomura’s total.
Kato had to overcome a shoulder injury suffered using the rings on May 19, when the apparatus broke.
“I had that accident, but battling and hanging in there led to my being selected to the national team,” said Kato.
Natsumi Sasada, who at 17 won her first All-Japan women’s overall crown in May, had 82.150 points to finish runner-up behind Teramoto. Another teenager, 16-year-old Mai Murakami, finished third.
Japan’s entire team for the world championships will likely be determined at the All-Japan Discipline Championships, on June 29 and 30