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Huang, Uchimura Win Japan Cup All-Around
(18 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

China's Huang Qiushuang and Japan's Kohei Uchimura won the all-around titles Sunday at the Japan Cup in Tokyo. Silver medalist Aliya Mustafina (Russia), gold medalist Huang and bronze medalist Tatiana Nabiyeva (Russia) pose with their medals.

China's Huang Qiushuang and Japan's Kohei Uchimura won the all-around titles Sunday at the Japan Cup in Tokyo.

In the women's competition, Huang scored 58.900 to take the gold over Russian juniors Aliya Mustafina (58.250) and Tatiana Nabiyeva (57.450).

Huang matched teammate Zhang Jing for the day's highest score on vault (14.950). She also earned the top mark on beam (15.350), athough she left out the element she missed in Saturday's team competition.

"I didn't do the element because I failed yesterday and this made me relaxed," Huang said. "Although it wasn't my best performance, I'm satisfied with the result. My best event is vault, so I want to improve it in the future."

Mustafina had a good start at vault, landing her double-twisting Yurchenko well for 14.750. She scored 15.100 on uneven bars, the top score of the event Sunday. She lost the chance for the gold with missed connections on balance beam, lowering her Difficulty Score to 5.4 compared with 6.0 in the team competition.

"Generally I'm content with my performances today," Mustafina said. "I think I could show what I can do. However I am not satisfied with my performance at beam and the score was low. At bars I could hold a fine posture where I should and I could fly where I should. I felt the enthusiasm from the audience."

Nabiyeva, the 2008 Junior European all-around champion, started her competition at the uneven bars with 14.250. At floor she hopped after her landing of 2 1/2 twist, although not as large as she did Saturday. She vaulted a Yurchenko 2 1/2 twist in the final rotation, and after her landing she twisted an additional half before saluting, causing a spectator to shout jokingly, "It was triple twist!"

"I did my Yurchenko 2 1/2 very well," Nabiyeva said. "I can even say I did it my best ever. I'm satisfied with my performances today. All things went well. The most important thing is that I can participate in this competition. I'd like to congratulate Huang for today's victory,"

When asked about the impression of Japanese gymnasts, Nabiyeva said she liked Miki Uemura, while Huang and Mustafina picked Koko Tsurumi as their favorite among the Japanese. Said Nabiyeva, "I like Miki. She always smiles even when she has problems during the competition. This made me feel she is a very nice and kind person."

Huang said she liked Tsurumi's beautiful gymnastics, while Mustafina said that Japanese gymnasts are well capable of high-level performances, and that Japan could be a future rival of Russia.

In the all-around, Tsurumi finished fourth and Uemura sixth. Tsurumi said she was satisfied with her performances, although a bit disappointed to finish .05 from the bronze medal.

"I found that I will never be able to get a medal without doing a Yurchenko double on vault," Tsurumi said. "I can't always successfully do that skill, so this is my future task."

Said Uemura, "I started on vault, and yesterday's failure made me nervous. However, I landed well and I'm happy with it. At floor, I couldn't stick the landing of the last tumbling. This is what I have to improve."

New Australian national champion Lauren Mitchell fell off from the beam on a flip flop, flip flop, layout. On Saturday, it was obvious after her second flip flop she would fall. On Sunday the direction was a bit better on the skill, but it was still off, and it led her to fall again at the same point. However, she showed a good floor exercise and received applause from the audience.

Kohei Uchimura won the men's all-around title in Tokyo.

In the men's competition, Japanese star Uchimura defeated Germany's Fabian Hambüchen for the title. Japan's Kazuhito Tanaka won the bronze.

Both gymnasts began their competition on floor exercise. Hambüchen showed an excellent exercise for 15.600 (D 6.4). He said starting with floor was very good for calming him down because he was a bit nervous. However, Uchimura was beyond him with getting 15.800 (D 6.5). Although he moved a step forward after his tucked double-double, the rest was almost perfectly done.

During Saturday's team competition, Hambüchen sat down on the pommel horse but made no mistakes Sunday. "[Pommel horse] is always hard but in this competition I didn't make a big mistake and I did well," he said.

While Hambüchen is still having problems with this event, Uchimura has improved his performance.

"I asked many people about what is bad in my performance," said Uchimura, who fell twice on pommel horse during the 2008 Olympic all-around final. "When I consider the direction of my circle, the left arm is very important and I was told that my left arm's movement was slowing down later in the performance. Also someone pointed out that I have a problem with E flop. I've paid much attention to these problems my performance is getting to go smoothly."

Still rings was the hardest event for Uchimura Sunday, while Hambüchen described his exercise as "one of the best performances in recent competitions."

Uchimura, however, said he was worried about the pain in his right shoulder that began after Saturday's vault. "I was a bit nervous at rings," he said. "I didn't feel pain today before rings, but after that it got hurt. This made me feel difficult to do vault."

Uchimura took a few steps back at the landings of the rings (8.5 E score). However his vault result wasn't affected by his pain. Both Uchimura and Hambüchen vaulted Yurchenko 2 1/2 (Shewfelt). Uchimura's height and beautiful position in the air earned him a 9.65 E score for the highest score of the night (16.250), while Hambüchen received a 9.6 E score with his stuck landing.

Both gymnasts tied on parallel bars (15.450). Hambüchen stepped back slightly on his landing while Uchimura stuck his. "I was disappointed that I got 0.1 deduction for the landing," Hambüchen said.

After the fifth rotation, the difference between Uchimura and Hambüchen was one point.

"I knew there was one-point gap between us," Hambüchen said. "I was thinking whether I should take a risk or not. I was thinking of getting 7.3 D score. However during the routine of the high bar, after my first flight element (Kovacs piked) I was a bit too close to the bar. Then I decided not to take the risk and keep the second place. I performed yesterday, too, and it was my last performance today. I was tired."

Asked about his flight element, Uchimura said, "When doing the piked Kovacs and Kolman, I have no problem but at Kovacs sometimes I got too close to the bar. Today this was the case."

However, Uchimura's 15.350 was well enough for his victory, as he led from start to finish.

"I didn't make any big mistakes today," Uchimura said. "Though I'm not fully satisfied with my performances, I'm glad to be the first champion of the Japan Cup. This competition was much fun for me and I want to participate again."

Uchimra said Hambüchen was a good rival.

"I think internal rival for me is [Koji Yamamuro and international rival is Fabian," said the 20-year-old Uchimura. "We are in the same generation and compete in many competitions. This rivalry gives me a good boost."

Hambüchen said that he also was motivated by the Japanese gymnasts. "I've participated in the trainings in Japan every year since 2005," he said. "The Japanese are aiming to delete any mistakes, searching for perfection in their performances. I myself try to do my gymnastics in such a way, too."

Hambüchen performed just before Uchimura on all events except for still rings. Asked about this, Hambüchen said he thought it was harder for Uchimura than for him. "I think it's difficult for him to always go just after me. I respect him very much getting these wonderful results in that situation."

Said Uchimura, "I saw Fabian doing very well and I was motivated by it."

About the 2009 World Championships in London, Hambüchen said, "I want to get a medal. I have to improve my performances in both D and E scores." When asked about the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he answered, "I'm sure I will raise my D score on floor. Perhaps it's difficult to do so in pommel horse and rings but I want to try. I don't think I change my vault. I want to improve parallel bars and high bar."

Uchimura said he wanted to show the beauty of gymnastics at the this fall's worlds, to be held Oct. 12-18 at London's O2 Arena. "I don't think I change my routines before worlds. I want to practice for the perfection in elements, such as landings and handstands."

Japan's Tanaka earned third place in spite of pain in his right wrist and right shoulder.

"I want to fix this problem as soon as possible and want to compete with full potential in London," Tanaka said. "I'm relieved with being third. I think I can have a chance to get medals in London if I try my best. However, I don't want to be too much obsessed by it, and want to get the result which satisfies myself."

The 2010 Japan Cup is planned for July 3-4 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, site of the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships.

Check back with International Gymnast Magazine Online for a quick chat with Aliya Mustafina and a photo gallery from Tokyo!

External Link: Official Web Site

2009 Japan Cup
July 19, Tokyo

Women's All-AroundVTUBBBFXAA
1.Huang Qiushuang14.95014.25015.35014.35058.900
2.Aliya Mustafina14.75015.10013.85014.55058.250
3.Tatiana Nabiyeva14.90014.25014.30014.00057.450
4.Koko Tsurumi13.70014.80014.75014.15057.400
5.Lauren Mitchell14.10013.90013.85014.45056.300
6.Miki Uemura13.90014.55013.85013.10055.400
7.Zhang Jing14.95013.15013.65013.00054.750
8.Britt Greeley13.70012.85012.75013.15052.450

1.Kohei Uchimura15.80015.15014.75016.25015.45015.35092.750
2.Fabian Hambüchen15.60014.00015.15016.20015.45015.70092.100
3.Kazuhito Tanaka14.85014.45015.10016.05015.50014.90090.850
4.Yoo Won-Chul 14.45014.20015.25015.75015.55014.85090.050
5.Guo Weiyang 13.10015.25015.20015.50015.20015.45089.700
6.Lu Bo 14.05014.15015.55016.00014.95014.65089.350
7.Danell Leyva14.50013.95014.15015.60015.20015.10088.500
8.Maxim Devyatovsky14.25014.10015.45014.85015.05014.60088.300
9.Eugen Spiridonov14.35013.70014.85015.45014.70014.50087.550
10.Steven Legendre15.40012.80014.00014.90013.10014.15084.350
11.Sergei Khorokhordin13.15013.55013.85015.50014.75013.25084.050
12.Kim Seung-Il 15.10010.90014.40012.80013.80014.30081.300

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