GLASGOW (Reuters) - Japan’s Kohei Uchimura held up six fingers to the crowd after landing from his horizontal bar routine to indicate he had won a record sixth all-around title at the world gymnastics championships on Friday.
He did not bother to wait for the judges’ verdict to begin celebrating, urging the crowd with both hands to cheer louder.
When his score of 15.100 flashed up, it confirmed the victory and showed his margin of success over surprise Cuban silver medalist Manrique Larduet was 1.634 points after the Japanese amassed a combined 92.332 points across six apparatus.
Larduet reduced his coach to tears after becoming the first Cuban to win an all-around medal at the worlds, while China’s Deng Shudi was satisfied after fighting back from eighth place at the halfway point of the competition to claim bronze.
Uchimura, who fell on the floor during qualifying and from the horizontal bar during the men’s team final, finally hit his target of six clean routines in Glasgow.
Five of his routines broke the 15-point mark, with the judges deeming his performance on the rings was not quite as good as the rest of his impressive bodywork.
But that was the only blemish for the 26-year-old who was presented with his second gold medal of the championships after helping Japan to a first team title in 37 years two days ago.
Uchimura has bagged every Olympic and world all-around title since taking silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, a streak unmatched in gymnastics history. No other man or woman has won more than three world all-around titles.
When Uchimura won his fifth straight all-around gold at the 2014 worlds by 1.492 points, it raised hopes among the chasing pack, who were closing the gap on the Japanese great as it was his smallest margin of victory among the six global titles.
But on Friday, he again showed they were no closer to beating him any time soon and he will be favourite to become the first man to win back-to-back Olympic titles in Rio next year since his compatriot Sawao Kato achieved the feat in 1972.
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris