Wed, 19 Jan 2022

Japan's gymnastics star Uchimura to retire in March

Xinhua
15 Jan 2022, 02:05 GMT+10

TOKYO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Japan's three-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura said here on Friday that he will retire from competitive gymnastics after a demonstration event on March 12.

Uchimura, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic men's all-around gold medalist, told a news conference that he will "make one last appearance" in the retirement event at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, the Kyodo news agency said.

The 33-year-old, who also led Japan to the team championship at the Rio Olympics, will give demonstrations on all six apparatuses along with other gymnasts.

"I wanted to finish on all six apparatuses as I've always been an all-rounder," he said. "I really love it, and I just wouldn't feel like myself if I only did the horizontal bar at the end."

Uchimura, who has been plagued with shoulder injuries in the past few years, crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics in the horizontal bar, the only event he entered, and finished only sixth at the world championships on the same apparatus in his home city Kitakyushu last October.

He has competed in nine world championships since 2009 and won 10 gold, six silver and five bronze medals, but the disappointing show in front of home supporters has finally made him decide to call time on his impressive career.

"I'm still not getting the feeling that I want to quit. I've always wanted to carry on forever if I could," he said. "(But) things were getting too tough as I trained toward the worlds and I felt 'This might be my last.'"

"I could no longer keep myself having the world's best training, due partly to pain in my body, but more so because of my (lowering) motivation and mentality," he concluded.

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