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Female gymnasts fall short of 2020 berth

Kyodo

Japan finished sixth in the women’s all-around team event at the world artistic gymnastics championships on Tuesday, failing to clinch a berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Japan, led by 2017 floor world champion Mai Murakami, scored a total of 160.262 for sixth. The United States took gold with 171.629, while Russia and China earned silver and bronze, respectively.

“We made mistakes that we normally don’t make as a team,” Murakami said. “I felt so strongly I didn’t want us to fail. I’m not satisfied, but I want to make use of this frustrating experience.”

The top three teams in the eight-team field were all guaranteed berths to the next Summer Olympics. Japan can still book a ticket to Tokyo 2020 if they finish in the top-9 at next year’s world championships.

Murakami, a three-time national all-around champion, along with Asuka Teramoto and Hitomi Hatakeda, had qualified sixth for the finals at Aspire Dome in the Qatari capital.

“I should have been more composed during the competition,” Teramoto said. “Next year, I’ll put all my concentration on getting a medal.”

Japan’s women’s team finished fourth at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where their male counterparts took gold. The men’s team secured a 2020 berth by finishing third in Monday’s final behind China and Russia.