King Kohei plots to oust all challengers in 2020

CONSISTENCY: Japan's squad (from left) Yamamuro, Uchimura, Tanaka, Shirai and Kato repeated their success at the world championships in Glasgow in Rio - Japan's first Olympic team gold since 2004.


    Aug 10, 2016

    King Kohei plots to oust all challengers in 2020

    "King Kohei" Uchimura had just won team gold but the gymnastics star was already planning a title defence at his home Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

    The 27-year-old looked more exhausted than elated as he walked off the floor after sealing Japan's first Olympic team gold since 2004.

    Japan won silver in 2008 and 2012 behind China.

    But the athlete - known for his iron discipline and robotic control - has more in the tank.

    His all-around title defence takes place on Wednesday and the floor final is yet to come in Rio where he could increase his Olympic medals tally to eight.

    And there is also the future to think about.

    "The next Olympics is in 2020 in Tokyo so I firmly believe that we can win again," said the six-time world all-around champion.

    "By winning team gold, I hope that people will know not just me and Kenzo (Shirai) but the others too," he added of Koji Yamamuro, Yuzuke Tanaka and Ryohei Kato.

    On Monday, Uchimura put Japan on track by leading off the pommel horse as they competed alongside Russia, despite Yamamuro falling off the apparatus.

    He pulled ahead after four rotations to take a 0.208 lead on Russia going into their final rotation which Uchimura sealed with a solid if unspectacular routine.

    Russia took silver with China settling for bronze as they did at the worlds last October in Glasgow.

    Said Uchimura: "It was tough. We were close to taking gold and I didn't have to think about it.

    "I just wanted to maintain my stamina. My first emotion was just exhaustion."

    Japan's 37-year wait for world team gold laid the groundwork for Monday night's success in Rio.

    "It's part psychological, but in order for us to get closer to gold, it was important to give good impression on the judges in Glasgow.

    "By making a good impression maybe we could get extra points. It's important to create this flow."