As expected, two-time world champion Kohei Uchimura did go on to win this weekend’s NHK Cup/Japanese World Trials. The typically machine-like Uchimura, who seems poised to take his third consecutive world all-around title later this year, sizzled on the first four events in Sunday’s competition before suffering a couple of struggles on parallel bars and high bar. His marathon p-bars set was slightly marred by some visible fatigue in several spots and earned him a sub-par 14.75. He went on to slightly mis-time his tucked Kovacs on high bar, the same event that failed him in preliminaries. With classy style, he did perform a repeat Kovacs perfectly and followed it up with a flawless Kolmann, the skill he missed during Saturday’s meet, en route to a 14.7 and a solid 92.05 total. Combined with his 92.25 from preliminaries and 94.45 from this spring’s national meet, Uchimura still dominated the World Trials process by nearly eight full points over second place Kazuhito Tanaka. In addition to Uchimura and Tanaka, Kenya Kobayashi, Koji Yamamuro, Makoto Okiguchi, and Yusuke Tanaka (ironically the brother of both men’s second place finisher Kazuhito and women’s second place finisher Rie Tanaka!) round out the Japanese men’s world team that will attempt to overtake China for the world team title in their home country this October.
On the women’s side, Koko Tsurumi also remained atop the podium, though like her male counterpart, her victory wasn’t without errors. The 2009 world all-around bronze medalist was forced to jump off the bars after missing her elgrip full turn and scored a dismal 12.9, and she once again posted a low floor score of 13.15. Her four-meet total for the World Trials process of 219.65 was less than one point ahead of second place finisher Rie Tanaka, who nearly matched her prelim performance with a solid 54.7. It appears that eight members have been tentatively named to the women’s world team, with perhaps the alternates to be determined later. In addition to Tsurumi and Tanaka, these gymnasts include Yuko Shintake, Asuka Teramoto, Tomomi Iiduka, Yuu Minobe, Kyoko Oshima, and Mai Yamagishi.
Interestingly, the women’s Japanese scores from this meet appeared to be quite low overall, with only a handful of 14+ scores given to any of the gymnasts, and aside from Koko Tsurumi, every single one of these 14’s was given on vault. Either their home scoring is extremely harsh, or the Japanese women have quite a ways to go if they hope for even an outside shot at a medal in Tokyo. As expected, the men’s scores were more impressive overall, though only the top two all-arounders were able to break a total of 90 during either day of competition. This does suggest some low scoring, but it will be very interesting to see what plays out for these teams on the world stage in just a few months.
Here’s a look at four of the routines from Kohei “Superman” Uchimura from Day 2 of the competition:
Kohei Uchimura Floor 2011 NHK Cup
Kohei Uchimura Vault 2011 NHK Cup
Kohei Uchimura P-Bars 2011 NHK Cup
Kohei Uchimura High Bar 2011 NHK Cup
Thanks to Komova2012 for posting these videos!