DOHA – Kohei Uchimura missed out on the men’s horizontal bar gold Saturday as Japan finished without any individual apparatus titles at the artistic gymnastics world championships.
The 29-year-old, who was aiming for his first world title in three years, earned a silver medal — his 21st world medal — with 14.800 points in the last event of the competition at Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar. Dutchman Epke Zonderland emerged victorious in the eight-man final with 15.100 points.
“It’s not gold but I’m okay with this color,” Uchimura said. “I was only thinking about getting a clean landing. I was very focused and calm.”
Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion and six-time world all-around champion, pulled out of the all-around competition due to a right ankle injury he sustained in September.
He said he “poured his life” into the team event, in which the Japanese men’s team he lead as captain won bronze and secured a 2020 Tokyo Olympic berth. The women’s team placed sixth and failed to qualify, though they will get another chance at next year’s worlds.
Also for Japan, Kenzo Shirai and Mai Murakami each won bronze in the men’s vault and women’s floor exercise, respectively. North Korea’s Ri Se Gwang won the men’s vault and Simone Biles of the United States won the women’s floor.
“In the end, it wasn’t about points, I just wanted to put on a good performance for myself. The second attempt was perfect,” said defending champion Shirai.
“The content (of my performance) wasn’t that great but at least I was able to smile in the end,” Murakami said.