Everything was prepared for the decorated China to revalidate its title despite its significant losses. But they had forgotten that their neighbor Japan and the 2022 world champion and current Olympian Daiki Hashimoto were looking for revenge after last year’s silver. And so they did it in a great fight, even until the end. While China (253,428) fell first in just two rotations, Japan (255,594) began its comeback to become world champion in men’s artistic gymnastics team at the World Championships in Antwerp (Belgium). The United States (252,428), a faithful competitor, finished in third position. Already off the podium, they were followed by Great Britain (249,461), Switzerland (244,426), Germany (244,026), Canada (243,028) and Italy (241,160).
The crowd was eager at the Antwerps Sportpaleis at the start of the day. They cheered the gymnasts in the executions of the elements. And there was more shouting in the Sports Palace when champion Daiki Hashimoto encouraged them to make more noise. Japan did not start well on the ground with Kenta Chiba. Neither did Britain, despite James Hall’s pommel horse experience. Both countries with failures in the first devices. Like Canada, the big surprise of the final after finishing fourth in the classification and not failing any exercise. And it was not the case of the United States, which excelled on the ground. China, for its part, redeemed itself from a classification that did not seem worthy of last year’s world champion and the Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist. They finished eighth in the classification, on the verge of missing the final, but they returned to try to repeat their qualification. They did not fail in jumping with their triple pirouettes. And they still had to visit their best devices.
The first rotation ended with the almighty United States behind the great decorated China. And with the second gear underway, the Korean of American nationality Yul Moldauer did his thing on the pommel horse, with a speed greater than the others in his movements and scissors, and a final pirouette that saved his exit. The difficulty was catapulted with the Chinese Hao You in parallel, reaching 15th with a score of 14.966. Italy increased its score with the jumps of Mario Macchiati and Nicola Bartolini, while Hashimoto showed potential on the pommel horse with a 14.266.
And China, unstoppable and uncatchable in just two rotations, remained first with four points ahead in a changing and tight classification for the rest of the teams: the United States dropped from second position to fifth, Japan and Italy tied in the middle of the table and Canada closed the classification, along with Germany. With the third rotation started, the British Jake Jarman, current European runner-up, performed a triple and a half acrobatics on jump that gave him a massive 15,400 to his team’s score. From the parallel bars, China’s Su Weide hit his country’s ranking hard after falling twice and failing to score more than 11.166. The United States knew that China had failed, and they took a step forward in the rings. Germany, which was looking to reach the podium, had the Olympic and world runner-up in parallel, an apparatus in which he scored a necessary 15.366.
Japan still had its three best devices left. Only half a point separated China, still first, from the second position of Great Britain in the fourth rotation. The Asian giant was trying to remedy it on the ground, but Japan and the United States began to cut back and ousted it. Switzerland, Germany, Canada and Italy – current European champions – for their part, were playing for positions outside the podium. The rotation ended, and Japan topped the tight table after a 15 from Kazuki Minami in colt, with a tenth of difference to the British, followed by China and the United States.
The fight was tightening, and in Great Britain James Hall fell from the parallel bars while China recovered with three successful ring rack routines, but could not recover with a strong Japan that increased the difference in first position. The Americans, who had managed to taste silver, crashed in the last rotation and settled for third place on the podium ahead of Great Britain.
One on one was disputed between the two great Asians. But China dazzled with its ring performance, a historical specialty for them. Not enough to overcome the more than two points difference with Japan. And it was Daiki Hashimoto, the Japanese hero, who nailed his bar routine. He landed on the mat, already knowing that Japan was world champion.
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