ATHENS – Naoya Tsukahara, a two-time world medalist in men’s all-around gymnastics, will have to give up the opportunity to compete in the event at the Athens Olympics, the Japanese men’s national team head coach said Thursday.
selectors, it was announced Thursday.
Minoru Kano said Tsukahara will participate in five of six apparatuses in Saturday’s qualification for the team, individual all-around and apparatus finals, making it impossible for him to make it through to the all-around final.
Isao Yoneda and Hiroyuki Tomita are the only Japanese who will take part in all six events in the qualifying round, a prerequisite for qualifying for the all-around, Kano said.
Tsukahara, the 1997 world all-around bronze medalist and 1999 silver winner, making his third straight Olympic appearance, was left out of the lineup for the horizontal bar.
“It was a tough decision, but the staff talked about it last night. Tsukahara is a big name, but I chose the top five gymnasts in the horizontal bar,” Kano said.
“Our main goal is to win a medal in the team event,” he added.
Tsukahara has been struggling on the horizontal bar since performing poorly at the NHK Cup in Tokyo in early May, which served as a qualifier for the Japanese team at Athens.
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