Uchimura Aims for Unprecedented Fourth World All-Around Title
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Unbeatable in Monday's qualifications at the world championships in Antwerp, Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan has just one more thing in his sights: capturing an unprecedented fourth world all-around title.

Uchimura dominated the qualification round in the same manner he's dominated the last five years of gymnastics: showing an unbeatable combination of difficulty, artistry and execution. In Antwerp, he scored just under 92.000 points (91.950), averaging an incredible 15.325 across the six events. Using watered-down routines, he qualified to three of the apparatus finals — more than any other male gymnast.


Three-time defending world champion Kohei Uchimura (Japan) flies high in Antwerp

"My mental condition was good and my physical condition was very good, so I think both of them came together and led me to those performances," he told Japanese media after qualification.

Uchimura's closest opponent, U.S. Olympian Sam Mikulak, qualified second with 89.532, more than 2 full points behind him. Uchimura's Olympic teammate Ryohei Kato qualified third with 89.474.

Uchimura, 24, was nevertheless critical of his qualification performance and aims to be better in the final.

"Maybe it's a bit too high," he said of 91.950. "For example on pommel horse I had room for improvement, so in the final I want to take care of all these kind of details in my routines and score above 9.0 points in execution on every event."

Uchimura (2009, 2010, 2011) and Russian legend Svetlana Khorkina (1997, 2001, 2003) are the only gymnasts to capture three world all-around titles, but Uchimura is the only one to do it in consecutive years.

After Uchimura added the Olympic all-around gold medal in 2012, gymnastics fans and experts have continued to debate whether he is the greatest male gymnast of all time. A fourth consecutive world all-around title in Antwerp may just put any doubt to rest.

Uchimura said he planned to be well-rested for Friday's all-around final and compete the same routines as in qualification.

"I won't change anything," said Uchimura, who was married last year and became a father in the spring. "There is nothing to be improved technically, and I just want to make sure my physical condition will be very well prepared."

Though he could conceivably win with a fall, Uchimura said he plans to fight for every tenth by sticking all his landings.

"That's what I've paying attention to in training," he said. "It's hard to stick the landings on every event in the competition. However, I came close to it [in qualification], and I want to stick even more in the final."

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