Japan distanced the other medal favorites in men’s qualifying at the world gymnastics championships in Liverpool, England, on Monday.
Wataru Tanigawa and Olympic all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto posted the top two all-around scores.
Japan totaled 260.695 points, 7.902 points ahead of Great Britain. For perspective, that’s greater than the margin separating Great Britain from eighth place South Korea, the last team to make Wednesday’s final.
The U.S. qualified third with China in fourth. In all team and individual finals, scores are reset from qualifying.
In a surprise, 18-year-old Asher Hong was the top American in all-around qualifying in sixth place. Hong, the youngest U.S. male gymnast at a worlds since 2009, outscored two-time reigning U.S. all-around champion Brody Malone by .668.
Malone, considered an all-around medal threat, fell and went out of bounds on floor exercise. He qualified eighth into Friday’s 24-man all-around final.
“Qualification is just getting the kinks out,” Malone told GymCastic. “Just getting the nerves out. I feel pretty confident going into team finals that we got the kinks out this time.”
Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on pommel horse, was second in qualifying on that apparatus behind Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan. Saturday’s final will lack two-time Olympic champion Max Whitlock of Great Britain, who is on a break from competition.
Malone qualified fifth into Sunday’s final on high bar, where he won bronze at last year’s worlds. Donnell Whittenburg made Saturday’s still rings final in the eighth and last spot.
Russian gymnasts, who won last year’s Olympic team title, are banned from worlds due to the war in Ukraine.
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