Uchimura's search for team title ends as Japan strike gold

Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:41pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

GLASGOW (Reuters) - It was more a case of winning ugly than showcasing perfection as Kohei Uchimura finally propelled Japan to a team gold medal at the gymnastics world championships on Wednesday, breaking China's stranglehold.

In a competition riddled with errors but overflowing with heart-pumping drama, Japan survived three falls -- including one by Uchimura in the final performance of the day on the horizontal bar -- to land their first world team title in 37 years.

Five-times world all-around champion Uchimura's final score of 14.466 allowed Japan to edge hosts and surprise silver medallists Britain by just 0.473 of a point.

While Japan scooped gold with a combined total of 270.818, Louis Smith, Brinn Bevan, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Nile Wilson and Kristian Thomas earned Britain their first ever men's team medal at the worlds -- surpassing their female counterparts who secured bronze 24 hours earlier.

China, who had won 10 of the last 11 world team titles and had been unbeaten since 2001, appeared to be out of the running when three scrappy performances on the pommel horse left them languishing in seventh place after the second rotation.

But three mesmerising outings on the parallel bars, topped by Deng Shudi, who earned a jaw-dropping 16.066, allowed China to stage a remarkable comeback, earning bronze with a combined total of 269.959.

Russia, the United States, Switzerland, South Korea and Brazil completed the final eight.

Beating China in a major global team competition had been Uchimura's motivating force as it was the one title missing from his glittering collection.   Continued...

Japan's Kohei Uchimura competes on the Pommel Horse during the men's team final at the World Gymnastics Championships at the Hydro arena in Glasgow, Scotland, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble