MELBOURNE, Australia (Kyodo) Japan’s Takehiro Kashima failed in his bid to successfully defend his pommel horse title and had to settle for the bronze medal at the World Gymnastics Championships on Saturday.

Kashima, the Athens Olympics bronze medalist, earned 9.687 points to finish behind winner Xiao Qin of China (9.850) and Romanian Ioan Silviu Suciu (9.700).

“My legs brushed against the handles, and I think that affected my score, but other than that it was a perfect performance,” said Kashima.

“I feel a little bit disappointed as things didn’t turn out quite how I had planned. Still, I think it is a great achievement to have won a medal for the third championships in a row.”

Hiroyuki Tomita, who gave Japan its first all-around title in 31 years on Thursday, took a fall and was a distant eighth with 8.637 points.

“I did what I could but just came apart at the end,” said Tomita. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired, but I wanted to finish the championships without messing up.”

“The horizontal bars are last so I will try and stay focused for that discipline.”

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