Gymnastics legend Uchimura is not yet ready to give up – .

Gymnastics legend Uchimura is not yet ready to give up – .

Kitakyushu (Japon) (AFP)

Uchimura finished sixth in the horizontal bar final – the only competition he’s competed in this week to avoid wearing down his ailing shoulders.

The world championships were being held in his hometown of Kitakyushu in western Japan, and some had speculated that he would end his career afterwards.

But the 32-year-old ignored retirement talks, saying competition has rekindled its fire.

“I can’t say anything about retirement at the moment. I need to rest and think about it, ”said Uchimura, widely regarded as the best male gymnast in history.

“I was reminded tonight how much I love gymnastics. I don’t feel right now that I don’t want to do it anymore. I was reminded of how interesting it is. “

Uchimura dominated gymnastics for most of the previous decade, winning several successive Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and winning 10 gold medals at the world championships.

But injuries have slowed him down in recent years, and he has chosen not to defend his Olympic all-around title in Tokyo this summer to focus on the horizontal bar.

His Games ended early after a crash in qualifying, and he finished well behind new world champion Hu Xuwei of China in Sunday’s final.

Uchimura said he was “still confident” that he could return to his former heights, but no longer felt he had to be the standard bearer in gymnastics.

He highlighted the emergence of Japanese Olympic all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto, and said gymnastics now had “higher status” in the world.

“I always feel like if I’m going to compete I have to aim to be the best in the world,” he said.

“But I had the slight feeling tonight that I might not be in this role anymore, looking at Daiki and the others on the horizontal bar.” There is a new generation emerging from all different countries. “

Uchimura made a few mistakes in his routine but managed a manual landing, eliciting crazy cheers from the crowd in his hometown.

But he said his performance had fallen short in training, and was “reminded that practice is everything.”

“Just because it was in my hometown or because it was maybe my last competition, that alone won’t give me the strength to win at this level,” he said.

Elsewhere on the final day of the world championships, Carlos Yulo of the Philippines won the men’s vault title but lost to Hu Xuwei on parallel bars.

Japan’s Mai Murakami edged Russian women’s world champion Angelina Melnikova in the floor competition, winning gold after a successful appeal pushed her to first place.

Murakami’s Japanese compatriot Urara Ashikawa won on beam.

Several top gymnasts, including American superstar Simone Biles, were absent from the world championships, which took place in the same year as the Olympics for the first time in 25 years.


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