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Kohei Uchimura out of world championships all-around

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Kohei Uchimura will sit out the world championships all-around for a second straight year due to an ankle injury, according to Japanese media.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion and six-time world champ, suffered right ankle ligament damage on Sept. 25.

Uchimura was limited in pre-worlds training in Doha on Monday, sitting out floor exercise and vault, the two events that tax the legs the most, according to the Olympic Channel.

He is still eligible to compete in qualifying, the Oct. 29 team final and individual finals, but sitting out any of the six apparatuses in qualifying excludes him from the all-around.

“The most important thing is to win as a team,” Uchimura told Olympic Channel through a translator. “All I have to do is do all four other apparatus perfectly, without mistake.”

Uchimura said three weeks ago that the injury was not as serious as his left ankle ligament tear on a vault landing during all-around qualifying at the 2017 World Championships, which ended his streak as global all-around winner at eight years.

Uchimura, 29, said he could not walk for about a month after last year’s injury, but this time he was back on his feet two days later, according to Nikkan Sports.

China’s Xiao Ruoteng won the world all-around title in Uchimura’s absence last year and is expected to do the all-around in Doha in qualifying this week and the Oct. 31 final. China’s Lin Chaopan and Japanese Kenzo Shirai took silver and bronze last year. The top U.S. hope is two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak, a five-time U.S. all-around champion whose best world all-around finish was sixth in 2013.

Uchimura’s six world all-around titles are twice as many as any other man or woman. Simone Biles is expected to go for a record-breaking fourth women’s title in Doha.

“I still have two years to go until the Tokyo Olympics, so I shouldn’t compete [and put too much strain on myself] now,” Uchimura, who hasn’t committed to doing all six events at a fourth Olympics in 2020, said Monday, according to Kyodo News.

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VIDEO: Simone Biles’ interview on TODAY after historic nationals

Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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