• Kyodo

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Japanese gymnast Mayu Kuroda became the first Japanese in 16 years to earn a spot in an apparatus final at the world championships after finishing sixth in the qualifying round of the uneven bars against solid competition on Wednesday.

News photoJapan’s Ayaka Sahara performs her Floor Exercise routine at the World Gymnastic Championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Kuroda, a 16-year-old who is making her world championship debut, collected 9.437 points to book her place in the uneven bars final contested by the top eight finishers in the qualifying round.

She is the first Japanese woman to appear in an apparatus final since Miho Shinoda on the beam in 1989.

Elsewhere, Kyoko Oshima, bronze medalist earlier this month at the East Asian Games, placed 10th in the women’s all-around qualifying to advance to the final with 35.824 points.

Nastia Liukin of the United States topped the field with 37.424 spread among four disciplines American gymnasts took first and second place Wednesday in the preliminary competition for the women’s all-around title at the world championships.

Chellsie Memmel, the all-around silver medalist at the U.S. nationals, captured second place with 37.412.

Australia’s Monette Russo finished in third place with 37.262 — the highest qualifying result for an Australian woman in an all-around competition.

Russo also earned a spot in the individual finals on the uneven bars and balance beam, becoming the first Australian woman to earn a spot in two apparatus finals in a world championship.

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