TAKASAKI, GUNMA PREF. – Kakeru Tanigawa and Asuka Teramoto prevailed in their individual all-around finals on Sunday at the national gymnastics championships, which double as a qualifier for this year’s worlds in October.
Tanigawa defended his title in the men’s competition, scoring 170.265 points at Takasaki Arena to finish 0.937 ahead of Kazuma Kaya. Kazuyuki Takeda took third, while last year’s runner-up, Kenzo Shirai, finished last with 161.463.
The 30-man final field was missing reigning two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura, who failed to qualify for the final for the first time since his nationals debut in 2005.
Uchimura lost out on an 11th straight title last year when he finished third behind Tanigawa, who became the youngest national champion at 19 years and two months.
In the women’s competition, Teramoto, who represented Japan at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, earned 111.998 points to dethrone reigning champion Mai Murakami and claim her second title and first in four years.
Murakami, the all-around silver medalist at last year’s worlds, was runner-up 1.167 points off the mark, missing out on her bid for a fourth consecutive title. Hitomi Hatakeda placed third.
The points earned at the national championships will roll over into next month’s NHK Cup, at which the top three men and top four women will be awarded berths in the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.