• Kyodo


Asuka Teramoto took a step toward qualifying for her second successive Olympics after winning the NHK Cup on Wednesday.

Teramoto captured the women’s individual all-around title for a second time with 115.050 points. She finished 1.750 ahead of second-place Mai Murakami with Aiko Sugihara another 0.950 back in third.

The NHK Cup is a qualifier for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with points from last month’s national championships carried over into the competition.

Teramoto, Murakami and Sugihara will be joined on a shortlist of seven after the national apparatus finals in June before the Japan Gymnastics Association selects its final five for Rio.

Murakami topped the nationals with 57.400, but Teramoto turned the tables on her Wednesday with a largely mistake-free 57.750. Murakami fell on the balance beam, settling for 55.900.

Defending champion and second-year high school student Sugihara netted 56.350.

“I wanted to have fun, to be able to compete with a smile on my face and that’s what led to today’s result,” Teramoto said. “This is only a stop on the way. I think we have a shot at a medal (in the team competition) so I hope to keep working.”

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