Gymnastics: China win sixth straight world men's team title

Hosts China won a record sixth straight world men's gymnastics team title on Tuesday night, with their final performer overturning the lead set by arch-rivals Japan at the last moment. -- PHOTO: AFP
Hosts China won a record sixth straight world men's gymnastics team title on Tuesday night, with their final performer overturning the lead set by arch-rivals Japan at the last moment. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Hosts China won a record sixth straight world men's gymnastics team title on Tuesday night, with their final performer overturning the lead set by arch-rivals Japan at the last moment.

China, represented by Cheng Ran, Deng Shudi, Lin Chaopan, Liu Yang, You Hao and Zhang Chenglong, finished the six-apparatus team competition with 273.369 points, just 0.1 of a point ahead of Japan at the Guangxi Gymnasium in the southern China city of Nanning.

The United States came in third with 270.369 and Britain fourth in 269.170.

China trailed Japan by nearly one point going into their final event, the high bar.

Japan's Yusuka Tanaka and four-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura put on clean performances to earn the top two high-bar scores so far on the day, 15.266 and 15.400 respectively.

China were the last team left to perform on the night. After national champion Deng and 19-year-old Lin finished their routines, China's gap with Japan was 15.866.

Zhang, the 2010 world high bar champion, was the last up and wowed a capacity crowd of nearly 4,000 with giant swings and spectacular releases before pulling off a perfect landing.

When his score of 15.966 came up on the board, the crowd burst into a roar after a stoned silence.

No country had ever won the world team title, male or female, for six times in a row. In the Olympics, however, the Soviet women's team claimed eight straight team titles from 1952 to 1980.

Japan won the 2004 Olympic team gold when China finished fifth, but have not triumphed at the world championships since 1978, finishing second behind China in their last three encounters.