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Men’s gymnastics team books Olympic berth

Kyodo

The Japanese men’s team took the lead into the final round, beating out defending champion China, after the conclusion of qualification at the world championships on Monday.

The host, which booked an Olympic berth at next year’s London Games after holding the provisional lead with six countries remaining earlier in the day, topped the field for Wednesday’s final with 364.291 points, 2.708 ahead of the United States.

China, which is aiming for its fifth consecutive world title came third with 359.126. The top eight countries in the preliminaries automatically qualify for the Olympics.

It is the first time Japan, which is looking for its first world title in 33 years, reached the final in the lead since winning the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Reigning world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura, who is seeking an unprecedented third consecutive title, leads with 92.256 points, with Americans John Orozco (90.532) and Danell Leyva (89.848) in second and third, respectively. Koji Yamamuro is in fourth.

Uchimura qualified for five routines excluding the vault while Yusuke Tanaka, who was slightly injured when he bumped his head in the floor exercise on Sunday, came first in the horizontal bar.

Eight teams compete in the final with 24 individuals in the all-around competition. Points collected in the preliminaries do not count toward the final.