High-flying Uchimura the one to beat in Rio

Kohei Uchimura celebrates winning gold on the Horizontal Bar at the 46th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Apparatus Final in Glasgow, Britain, on  Nov 1, 2015.
Kohei Uchimura celebrates winning gold on the Horizontal Bar at the 46th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Apparatus Final in Glasgow, Britain, on Nov 1, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

GLASGOW • Kohei Uchimura raised the bar with less than a year to go to the Rio Olympics, bringing home a career-high three titles from the world gymnastics championships which ended on Sunday.

The reigning Olympic all-around champion added the high bar crown to his all-around and team titles in the Hydro Arena to bring his tally to 10 titles and 19 medals over six world championships.

It was the most successful world championships for the 26-year-old from Fukuoka since he grabbed the first of his six world all-around titles in London in 2009.

Uchimura, the high bar runner-up last year and third in 2011 and 2013, finally nailed it with an acrobatic display involving spectacular swings and turns.

He scored 15.833 to finish 0.133 ahead of American Danell Leyva, with Cuban Manrique Larduet third in the eight-man final.

Said Uchimura: "I thought today's performance was not enough for the gold medal because I had small mistakes and I was not satisfied."

He had made winning the team gold his main priority after Japan's four successive world silver medals behind China and silver at the last two Olympic Games.

In addition to breaking China's 12-year domination of the men's team event to bag their first crown since 1978, Japan's Kenzo Shirai also won gold on the floor, to recapture the title he clinched in 2013.

You Hao ended a week of disappointment for China's men, as he captured their first gold in Glasgow by eclipsing Ukrainian defending champion Oleg Verniaiev by 0.15 of a point in the parallel bars final.

He scored 16.216 on a day Asia won all three men's apparatus finals. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'High-flying Uchimura the one to beat in Rio'. Print Edition | Subscribe