Uchimura skips Asian Games to focus on Doha Worlds
Doha: Japan’s six-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura has skipped the Asian Games to focus on the 48th FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, scheduled to start here from October 25-November 3.
The 18th Asian Games will officially start in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday.
The 29-year-old is leaving nothing to chance in his attempt at claiming another title at the Worlds after he pulled out of the 47th edition in Montreal, Canada, last year where he hurt his ankle during a training session.
Uchimura, who won back-to-back all-around Olympic gold since 2012, returned to competitive action at the 11th FIG Artistic FIG Individual World Cup here in March but it turned out to be a disappointing one as he failed qualify for the six apparatus finals at the Aspire Dome.
There was further disappointment for the sport’s biggest star in modern era when his 10-year-old reign came to an end at his country’s national championships
Uchimura finished third behind reigning world champion Kenzo Shirai while teenager Kakeru Tanigawa claimed gold at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
However, ‘King Kohei’ had something to cheer in May when he triumphed at the Japan’s NHK Cup competition for the 10th straight time, topping the podium for the first time since returning from his injury layoff.
Uchimura will have his task cut out at the Worlds as he may face stiff challenges from his own team-mates in the Qatari capital.
The Japan Gymnastics Association has named five candidates to compete at the Doha event.
Besides Uchimura and Shirai, Yusuke Tanaka, who won a team gold at the 2016 Rio Games, Wataru Tanigawa and Kazuma Kaya are the other members of the squad.