• Kyodo

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Six-time all-around world champion gymnast Kohei Uchimura won a record-extending ninth consecutive national championship on Sunday, although he did not have the best of days as he made numerous mistakes.

Uchimura, who will be looking to defend his all-around crown at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer, nailed his final apparatus in the horizontal bar to secure victory with a score of 91.300 points at Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Kenzo Shirai was second with 89.700 and Ryohei Kato was third with 89.400.

Uchimura wobbled on a handstand at the rings and failed to land his jump in the vault. The 27-year-old said a lack of nervousness worked against him with his ticket to Brazil already in the bag, adding he had to psych himself up for the horizontal bar.

“It was like doing practice and I wasn’t getting excited mentally,” Uchimura said. “I went in thinking I’m not going to Brazil if I botch it up again.

“I feel angry with myself and sorry for everyone.”

It was a different story for 19-year-old Shirai, who was 11th last year but showed he is turning into an all-rounder by scoring the highest 15.500 points in the vault and another over-15 on the parallel bar, in addition to 16.500 for his favorite floor.

Shirai has taken the word of Uchimura in trying the vault three times a day at university with a competition-like mentality. He is seeing the effect from that but is keeping calm.

“I’m not surprised with my performance,” Shirai said. “I’ve got people I have to surpass before Kohei-san.”

Mai Murakami won her first title in the women’s competition with 57.400 points, narrowly ahead of Asuka Teramoto (57.300).

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