Kohei Uchimura and Rie Tanaka won the 66th Japanese Championships 2012
Doha (QAT), AGU Office, April 17, 2012: The World all-around champion Kohei Uchimura and Rie Tanaka won the Japanese Championships, held over the weekend in the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, which served as the training gym for the 2011 World Championships.
It was the fifth national title for Uchimura but the first for Tanaka, who has nonetheless become well known in Japan after winning the Longines Prize for Elegance at the 2010 Worlds. Although the competition included two full days of competition, results were based solely on the second day, where Tanaka bested Natsumi Sasada and Yumi Iizuka.
Uchimura missed his Cassina on high bar but still won handily with 92.650. Kenya Kobayashi won the silver medal over Shogo Nonomura, 90.800-90.500.
Top qualifier Kazuhito Tanaka’s 89.100 was good enough for seventh only.
Tanaka’s sister Rie Tanaka won the women’s competition, her first senior national title. The veteran Tanaka outscored runner-up Natsumi Sasada by 2 points, 56.450-54.450. Yuumi Iiduka was third with 54.400.
Five-time defending champion Koko Tsurumi placed seventh.
Uchimura, who has already been named to Japan’s Olympic team, competed three events only during Saturday’s qualification. Uchimura, along with the top 23 male gymnasts and 24 female gymnasts over the two-day competition, advance to May’s NHK Cup. The results of both competitions will decide Japan’s Olympic teams.
I’m happy to win my first title. I didn’t make any big mistakes and was able to perform how I know I can,” Tanaka said, according to The Japan Times. “I won and I am pleased but this is just a passing point to London and I want to do well at the NHK Cup too.”
Tanaka posted the highest all-around scores (56.2 and 56.45) on both days of competition, scoring in the low 14s on every event on the second day. After a fall on floor during the first day, Sasada improved by seven tenths on the second to rocket to the runner-up slot (54.45). Iizuka, who has a killer DTY, posted a meet-high 15.25 on vault to help herself into third place (and overcome an 11.1 on beam) on day two (54.4).
2011 World team members Yu Minobe and Asuka Teramoto, second and third all-around on day one, finished ninth (52.15) and fourth (53.45), respectively, after slipping in the rankings on day two.
The hotly anticipated senior debut of sensation Mai Murakami was hampered by problems on bars and floor. The dimunitive Murakami found herself 20th after the first day of competition but finished in 11th after a much improved day two, which included an event-high 14.7 for her floor routine (51.3).
Defending Japanese champion Koko Tsurumi, who spent much of the winter training at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance in Iowa, struggled on everything but beam on both days and finished seventh overall (52.95).
Uchimura, who has already been named to the Olympic team, opted only to compete on three events during the first day of competition, but posted the highest all-around score on the second day (92.65), ahead of 2011 World team member Kenya Kobayashi (90.8) and upstart Shogo Nonomura, the surprise winner of the Stuttgart World Cup last November (90.05).
Uchimura’s 92.65 is a relatively modest score for him, given that he came close to hitting 95 at this competition last year. “I wasn’t really thinking about a fifth straight title and just was trying to perform with care. I was trying to treat this championships as though a place on the Olympic team was at stake,” Uchimura told The Japan Times after the meet. “There were parts of my performance that I wasn’t particularly happy with, so I felt disappointed about that more than happy about winning five titles in a row.”
Reigning World all-around bronze medalist Koji Yamamuro finished only 12th (88.0) among the talented men’s field. Olympic veteran Kazuhito Tanaka, Rie’s older brother, sat first after day one, but dropped to seventh on the second day. The youngest Tanaka sibling, 2011 World team member Yusuke Tanaka, finished tied for 10th, while Uchimura’s younger sister Haruchi Uchimura placed 19th.
WOMEN’S ALL-AROUND FINAL
1. Rie Tanaka Nippon Sport Science University 14.050 14.150 14.200 14.050 56.450
2. Natsumi Sasada Teikyo High School 13.400 13.600 14.050 13.400 54.450
3. Yuumi Iiduka Asahi Seimei 15.250 14.000 11.100 14.050 54.400
4. Asuka Teramoto Legyc Gymnastics 13.800 12.100 13.750 13.800 53.450
5. Yuki Uchiyama Smile Gymnastics Club 13.450 13.150 12.450 14.150 53.200
6. Yuko Shintake Hagoromo International University 12.850 13.450 13.800 12.950 53.050
7. Koko Tsurumi Nippon Sport Science University 13.000 12.800 14.300 12.850 52.950
8. Mai Yamagishi Hagoromo International University 12.950 12.550 13.350 13.500 52.350
MEN’S ALL-AROUND FINAL
1. Kohei Uchimura KONAMI 15.800 15.050 15.300 16.000 15.600 14.900 92.650
2. Kenya Kobayashi KONAMI 14.150 15.100 15.150 16.200 15.500 14.700 90.800
3. Shogo Nonomura Juntendo University 14.700 14.700 15.100 15.500 15.050 15.000 90.050
4. Ryohei Kato Juntendo University 15.400 14.650 14.250 15.800 14.700 15.000 89.800
5. Makoto Okiguchi KONAMI 15.450 14.150 14.800 16.350 14.600 14.350 89.700
6. Junpei Oka Nippon Sport Science University 14.500 14.750 14.050 16.200 14.650 15.050 89.200
7. Kazuhito Tanaka Tokushukai Gymnastics Club 14.550 13.450 14.850 14.750 15.900 15.600 89.100
8. Hiroyuki Imai Juntendo University 14.450 14.150 14.600 15.350 15.200 14.800 88.550
8. Shoichi Yamamoto Gifu Prefecture Athletic Association 14.550 14.200 14.450 15.400 15.200 14.750 88.550