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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