DOHA – Japan, without six-time world all-around champion and two-time reigning Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura, came away without a men’s individual all-around medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on Wednesday for the first time since 1995.
Japan’s two finalists, 2017 bronze medalist Kenzo Shirai and Kazuma Kaya, finished seventh and sixth, respectively, while Russia’s Artur Dalaloyan beat China’s Xiao Ruoteng on a tiebreaker for gold at Doha’s Aspire Dome.
Dalaloyan and defending world champion Xiao both had 87.598 points, but Dalaloyan had a higher execution total after the officials dropped the gymnast’s lowest score of the six events.
He was joined by fellow Russian Nikita Nagornyy on the all-around podium, the bronze medalist finishing with 86.331 points.
Uchimura did not compete in all six apparatuses because of a lingering right ankle injury. He was limited to just three events in qualification — the horizontal bar, pommel horse and rings.
Shirai, an eight-time world medalist and 2016 Olympic vault bronze medalist, struggled with the new judging system and new equipment such as the floor exercise mat but made no excuse, saying he performed his best and the medalists were better.
“I did what I could so I’m satisfied,” Shirai said. “I admit I was uncomfortable with the new equipment but I didn’t want to make big mistakes. I feel a sense of accomplishment but I’ve also identified areas that need improvement so I’ll focus on those.”
In his second world appearance, Kaya, who placed 10th in the all-around final in 2015, made no major mistakes in the final and finished with the fourth-best score of 14.100 in the pommel horse and an aggregate score of 84.765.
“I took Kohei’s place so I couldn’t put on a humiliating performance,” Kaya said. “I was able to stay calm in all events but it wasn’t enough for a medal, so there’s still a competitive gap.”