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China grabs world team gold as Japan stumbles
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 10 - 2010

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands: Olympic champions China claimed a fourth straight men's team title at the world gymnastics championships here Thursday as a late tumble ended the gold-medal hopes of Asian rivals Japan.
The title-chase went down to the wire with the Chinese sealing victory when Japan's Kazuhito Tanaka fell on the final rotation - the horizonal bar.
The Kohei Uchimura-led Japanese finished 1.228 points behind to take silver with the bronze going to Germany in a repeat of the podium at the last world championships in Stuttgart three years ago.
Lead by Olympic rings champion Chen Yibing the Chinese were solid on all their six rotations and pulled ahead of Japan on the rings as sloppy landings by both Tanaka and Kenya Kobayashi left them trailing by two points.
The titleholders took a 0.794-point advantage on Japan going into a nail-biting final rotation at the Ahoy Arena with Germany 0.844 behind.
But the Japanese knew their slim title hopes were over when Tanaka came off the horizontal bar, with China then stepping up to give an error free performance with former Olympic champion Teng Haibin sealing victory.
“I can't express in words how I felt when he fell,” said Japanese team manager Yusuke Ikeda. “I knew that the title was gone.”
A tearful Tanaka, 25, added: “I'm very sad, I did my best.”
But China's Feng Zhe insisted his team would have won even with a perfect performance by the Japanese.
“Even if Tanaka had not fallen I think we would have won this title. From the first moment that we arrived here we knew that we could get gold,” said Feng. “I'm very confident that we can get more medals.”
As well as Olympic veterans Teng and Chen, the Chinese team also included Feng, Yan Mingyong and newcomers Lu Bo and Zhang Chenglong.
Bo is also in with a shot at the all-around title on Friday as he qualified third behind defending champion Uchimura and Germany's Philipp Boy.
Boy paid tribute to the Asian rivals as Germany's search for its first team title at worlds continues.
– Agence France


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