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Kaho Minagawa secures Japan's lone Olympic berth for rhythmic gymnastics

Kyodo

Kaho Minagawa on Friday secured Japan one of the 21 Tokyo Olympic berths up for grabs at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships.

The top 16 individuals from the all-around final and the best five teams in group exercises earn their national federations the right to send gymnasts, up to a maximum of two, to next year’s Summer Games.

Minagawa placed 13th but with compatriot Chisaki Oiwa finishing 19th at National Gymnastics Arena, Japan failed to add a second Olympic berth in individual rhythmic gymnastics.

“Right now I’m really happy to have punched one Olympic ticket,” said the 22-year-old Minagawa, who tallied a score of 80.300 points for her performance in hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.

“I definitely want to be the one to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. I’m going to shift my mental gears immediately and work toward that.”

At the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, Minagawa finished 16th in the individual all-around qualifications and did not advance to the top-10 final.

Dina Averina led a 1-2 finish for Russia with an overall score of 91.400 points, and her twin sister, Arina, took silver with 91.100. Averina sealed her third consecutive all-around title at the worlds. The bronze went to Israel’s Linoy Ashram, who totaled 89.700.

Individual gymnasts will have another opportunity to earn a place for their country in next spring’s four-stage 2020 World Cup series, where three places will be up for grabs.