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Japanese gymnastics legend Uchimura to retire

Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, a two-time Olympic individual all-around champion, will retire from competition, his agency said Tuesday. (AP/File)
Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, a two-time Olympic individual all-around champion, will retire from competition, his agency said Tuesday. (AP/File)
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11 Jan 2022 11:01:26 GMT9
11 Jan 2022 11:01:26 GMT9

TOKYO: Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, a two-time Olympic individual all-around champion, will retire from competition, his agency said Tuesday.

He is slated to hold a press conference Friday to announce his retirement. Uchimura, 33, is thought to be one of the world’s greatest gymnasts of all time, earning him the nickname of “king” overseas.

Since making his first Olympic appearance at the 2008 Beijing Games, Uchimura has long led the Japanese men’s gymnastics team.

He won a gold medal in the men’s individual all-around at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In the Rio Games, Uchimura also performed as a member of the Japanese men’s national team, contributing to its winning of all-around team gold.

After the 2016 Games, Uchimura became the first Japanese professional gymnast. But his glittering career then began to show signs of losing luster as he suffered one injury after another, first in the left ankle and then in the right ankle and both shoulders.

He failed to extend his world championships winning streak to seven in the 2017 competition, held in Montreal.

Uchimura earned his ticket to compete in last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, his fourth straight Olympic participation, by choosing to perform only in the horizontal bar. But he ended up not being able to qualify for the final.

He finished sixth in the horizontal bar at the world championships held in the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, last October. “I want to think about various things after taking a good rest,” Uchimura said after the event, suggesting that he would consider whether to retire or not.

Uchimura continued with his training later, but the world championships in Kitakyushu turned out to be his last competition.

JIJI Press

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