China finish second at men’s gymnastics worlds qualifying

Glasgow, Oct 26 (IANS) Six-time defending champions China finished second to arch rivals Japan at the men’s qualifying of the world gymnastics championships here.

China, who edged out Japan by a 10th of a point in a dramatic final last year, did better in rings and parallel bars in the six-event qualifying on Sunday, reports Xinhua.

Japan, the silver winner in the last four world championships, totalled 358.884 points, China was second in 357.027 and Britain finished third in 354.417.

Reigning Olympic and five-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura, who had a successful start to the competition on vault, parallel bars and high bar, crashed a tumbling pass in the middle of his floor exercise. But he managed to deliver a routine up to his usual standard at the pommel horse and still rings.

He led the all-around rankings after all six events with 90.654 points. Britain’s Daniel Purvis was second in 88.956 and China’s Deng Shudi third in 88.832.

Uchimura will win an unprecedented sixth consecutive world all-around title if he repeat the performance in the final on Friday.

“I waited a long time and my body cooled down,” he said of the error. “So I couldn’t move as I wanted to. At the beginning of the exercise it was fine, but at the end, I couldn’t perform as I had wished.”

“It’s hard to say what we need to do to beat the Chinese in the team competition, because it’s never happened to me,” Uchimura said. “If we knew what we needed to do, we would do it.”

Ye Zhennan, China’s team manager, believed that they can do better in the finals.

“The most important thing is that we have qualified for the finals,” Ye said. “Since the scores are reset for Wednesday’s final, let us work harder from the very beginning. “

Liu Yang, the 2014 world champion on rings, echoed Ye’s view: “Compared with other teams, our whole team sticks together and trains together the whole year. I think we have better group power than the other teams.”

Russia finished fourth with 88.698 points. The United States, the Netherlands and Romania will start their competition on Monday. The top eight teams won an automatic spot in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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