• Kyodo

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Kenzo Shirai claimed the bronze medal in the men’s individual all-around on Thursday at the world championships to continue a Japanese podium streak that dates back to 2003.

In the absence of gold medal favorite Kohei Uchimura, Shirai earned a total of 86.431 points for his six-apparatus performance, with Xiao Ruoteng (86.933) and Lin Chaopan (86.448) completing a one-two finish for China at Olympic Stadium.

Uchimura, who was looking for his seventh straight individual all-around title at the worlds, pulled out after he injured his left ankle landing his vault in the qualifying round. He has 19 worlds medals, including 10 gold.

Shirai, a two-time gold medalist in the floor exercise, made his world championships debut in the all-around as Uchimura experienced mixed emotions while watching from the stands.

“I think I did well,” Shirai said.

“If Kohei-san were competing I would have probably been fourth. It’s just that he happened to be injured, and I don’t feel like I’ve surpassed him. My next goal is to become No. 1 in Japan,” he said.

The 21-year-old Nippon Sport Science University student, who placed fourth in qualifying to advance to the 24-man final, was the only gymnast to reach the 15-point mark on the floor and vault.

In the horizontal bar, on which he fell during qualifying, Shirai nailed a double-twisting Kovacs layout and finished off with a celebratory fist pump to complete the competition.

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