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Kohei Uchimura struggles in return from ankle injury

Kyodo

Two-time Olympic all-around gold medalist Kohei Uchimura capped off a disappointing showing Thursday at the FIG Artistic Individual Apparatus World Cup by failing to qualify in either vault or horizontal bar.

Making his return from an ankle injury he suffered at last October’s artistic gymnastics world championships in Montreal, the 29-year-old finished ninth in vault and 10th in horizontal bar, respectively, with scores of 14.100 and 13.433 at the Aspire Dome.

Uchimura the previous day failed to make the grade in pommel horse and rings, and admitted that the injury had been playing on his mind. The six-time all-around world champion nevertheless managed a smile Thursday as he reflected on a poor showing by his own lofty standards.

“Why did I bother coming? I didn’t have a feel for the meet and wasn’t able to react,” Uchimura said. “I really didn’t rise to the occasion. At this point, all I can do is laugh.”

Uchimura withdrew from the world championships in Montreal after injuring himself during a vault landing in a qualifying session, ending his bid for a seventh straight individual all-around title.

He was diagnosed with torn ligaments in his left ankle, with the injury also forcing him to withdraw from the Toyota International gymnastics competition in Aichi Prefecture in December.

Takumi Sato will enter Saturday’s floor exercise final in Doha as one of the favorites after topping qualifying with a score of 14.866.