Japan’s Kōhei Uchimura continued his reign of dominance by sealing a record sixth consecutive men’s all-around title with a flawless performance at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships here today.
Uchimura, who secured gold for his country in the men’s team final on Wednesday (October 28) in dramatic fashion, notching the required score, despite a fall on the last apparatus, delivered a typically-dazzling display to finish on a total of 92.332 points.
The result saw him rewrite the history books, overtaking his own record of five consecutive world crowns, and proved once again why he will be the man to beat at next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Cuban Manrique Larduet, second at the Pan American Games but still a relative unknown on the global stage, became the first gymnast from his country to win an all-around World Championships medal, finishing 1.634 adrift of the formidable Uchimura on 90.698 to mark his debut with an impressive silver.
China's Deng Shudi grew in confidence as the competition went on, recovering from a shaky start to take home bronze with a total of 90.099, edging out reigning European Games all-around champion Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine.
"I never think about how many medals I've won - I'm always focused on concentrating on my performance," Uchimura said.
"I still don't consider myself as the greatest gymnast of all time."
The Japanese sensation had not quite hit top form in Glasgow before he stepped out into the Arena to begin his title defence, with his fall on the high bars during the team final coming after he had made an uncharacteristic mistake on the floor during qualifying.
Such errors never made their way into tonight’s performance, however.
He did, however, find himself trailing after the opening rotation in the final after 2014 world silver medallist Max Whitlock of Britain landed a stunning pommel horse routine, rewarded with 16.100, the highest score on the apparatus at an Olympic Games or World Championships for six years.
Uchimura’s response in the discipline was a full point short of his British counterpart, but he was still able to wrestle the lead back from Whitlock, extending his advantage even further with a perfectly-executed rings display.
Meanwhile, the surprise challenge of Larduet was gathering pace as he nailed a 15.733 on the precarious parallel bars, while Verniaiev and Shudi were also in contention for a medal.
Going into the final two rotations, it looked as though it was becoming a two-way battle for the title between Uchimura and Whitlock but Larduet had other ideas, thrusting himself firmly into the hunt for gold with a routine on the high bar which was laced with energy and vigour.
Much to the disappointment of the majority of the crowd inside the Arena, Whitlock’s attempt at bettering his silver medal from the 2014 World Championships in Nanning then evaporated on the same apparatus as he came off and crashed to the canvas early on, his score of 12.833 ending his hopes of securing a spot on the podium.
Larduet's stellar performance in the final came to an end on the floor, with his total of14.666 guaranteeing Cuba what was only their fourth-ever medal at a World Championships.
Just as in the team event two days previously, it all came down to Uchimura on the high bar to perform the last routine of the evening.
A hush fell over the venue as the Japanese star was hoisted onto the bar and in spite of one moment where it looked as though history might have repeated itself, he looked at ease as he swung and flipped his way to an incredible sixth straight title thanks to a score of 15.100.
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