Uchimura wins third straight NHK Cup

Reigning individual all-around world champion Kohei Uchimura captured his third consecutive NHK Cup title, while Koko Tsurumi achieved the same feat in the women’s event on the final day of action on Sunday.

Uchimura collected a winning total of 278.750 points at the meet at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, which doubled as a final qualifier for the world championships this October in Tokyo. Uchimura and Tsurumi are the sixth men’s and women’s gymnasts to win three straight titles.

“I wasn’t able to really satisfy the crowd. I made mistakes over the two days,” said Uchimura. “We are the local favorites for the world championships, so I want to win gold in the individual and team events. To do that I have to train hard to increase my stability in all six disciplines,” he said.

The top six men’s finishers earned berths to the worlds, with Kazuhito Tanaka and Kenya Kobayashi, who were among the top three, booking their spots, along with Tanaka’s younger brother Yusuke and sister Rie.

Tsurumi, who won her fourth overall crown, tallied a total of 219.650. Rie Tanaka, who had the day’s highest score, finished just 0.950 behind in second.

Tsurumi fell on the uneven bars but was able to hold on to her overnight lead, thanks in part to the points she collected at the national championships in April.

“I’m extremely happy that I was able to perform my best under enormous pressure. I feel like I’ve overcome something,” Tsurumi said.