KOHEI Uchimura expressed a measure of sympathy for Great Britain and Ukraine after a judging inquiry into his pommel horse routine gave Japan the silver medal in the men’s Olympic gymnastics team final.
The Japanese superstar badly miscued his dismount from the pommel in the final rotation of Monday’s event at the North Greenwich Arena and was awarded a score of 13.466 points that left Japan in fourth place.
As Britain celebrated a shock silver medal and Ukraine toasted an apparent third-place finish, Japan submitted an appeal to the judges that brought proceedings to a confused and confusing standstill.
The judges ultimately decided that Uchimura had not been given sufficient credit for his dismount and amended his score to 14.166, taking Japan up to second, dropping Britain to third, and leaving Ukraine empty-handed.
Loath to celebrate after finishing behind China in the team competition for the second Olympics in succession, Uchimura conceded he felt for the British and Ukrainian gymnasts.
“For the British people, it’s not just them. It’s about Ukraine too, who thought they had a bronze. I feel sorry,” he said, before back-tracking.
“It’s strange to say that, though. This is just the way the scoring system works, so I shouldn’t feel sorry for them.”
Considered one of the finest male gymnasts in the sport’s history, Uchimura is yet to sparkle at the London Games, having fallen twice in qualifying and finished in ninth place in the individual rankings.
He will nonetheless start as the favourite to take all-around gold in today’s individual final and will also expect to feature strongly in the floor final on Sunday. — AFP