BANGKOK (THA) May 17, 2017:  JAPAN struck back on Wednesday, securing the Individual and Team All-Around gold medals in the boys division of the 14th Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the Nimibtur Gymnasium here.
Led by irrepressible rookie Kakuto Murayama,  the Japanese captured the all-around team gold with 243.30 points, narrowly relegating the Chinese to the silver medal (241.40) while the Taiwanese ( Chinese-Taipei)  finished a distant third and settled for the bronze (229.15).
Drawing huge scores from the floor exercise (14.05), vault (14.30) and high bar (14.20), Murayama emerged as the all-around individual champion with a total output of 80.95, besting China’s Ma Ziyue, who took the silver, by a whisker (79.95), as teammate Shiga Tachibana settled for the bronze (79.65).
“I worked hard for this tournament so, of course, I thought I would win,” said the Japanese gymnast, who began in the sport when he was five years old, confidently although he was making his debut in the competition organized and sanctioned by the Asian Gymnastics Union.
The 16-year-old native of Chiba City aimed to add to his gold-medal collection when he springs into action in the individual apparatus finals scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
It was a great comeback for the Japanese after they were shut out during in the opening  last Tuesday dominated by the Chinese, who swept away with top honors in both the individual and team girls all-around in this country known as “The Land of Smiles.”
Having split the first four golds contested so far in the Asian Juniors, China and Japan were set to resume their keen rivalry on Thursday with the start of the 7th Asian Senior Gymnastics Championships ushered in by the women’s individual and team all-around contests.
According to AGU Technical Manager Anis Saoud, the Chinese have fielded their first team in this event in a bid to recover from their lackluster showing in the 2015 Rio Olympic Games where they failed to bring home a gold medal.
They are also seeking to regain their supremacy in the Asian Seniors after playing second fiddle in the 2015 edition held in Hiroshima, Japan when the Japanese hosts stamped their class in bagging 8 gold, 7 silvers and 3 bronze medals.
China wound up second overall then with a 5-5-3 gold-silver-bronze medal tally.     
Captions:
ASIAN JUNIORS MAG TEAM ALL-AROUND MEDALISTS:  Winners in the 14th Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships  boys team all-around event, led by gold medalist China (center), proudly display their medals. On the left is silver medalist China while bronze medalist Chinese-Taipeis is on the right (photo up)
INDIVIDUAL ALL-AROUND WINNERS:  Individual all-around boys gold medalist Kakuto Murayama of Japan (center) poses with silver medalist Ma Ziyue (left) and teammate Shiga Tachibana (right), who took the bronze medal.
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GOLDEN KISS: Japan’s Kakuto Murayama kisses his gold medal for emerging as the boys individual all-around champion in the 14th Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastic Championships.
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FINE FORM: Japanese all-around individual champion Kakuto Murayama shows fine form in the floor exercise event.
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FOCUSED:  Chin’s Ma Ziyue, who bagged the silver medal in the boys individual all-around event, display focus on the high bar.
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SOARING ON THE RINGS:  Individual all-around silver medalist Shiga Tachibana of Japan soars on the ring apparatus.
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