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Kohei Uchimura of Japan is perfectly balanced while performing in the rings of the men's individual all-around final of the Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Rio Olympics 2016: ‘King Kohei’ defends crown

WT24 Desk

Gymnastics superstar Kohei Uchimura soared to his third Olympic gold on Wednesday as he defended his all-around crown two days after winning a first team title with Japan, AFP reports.

The 27-year-old snatched the title after a thrilling battle with Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev, winning by just 0.097. Britain’s Max Whitlock won bronze in the Rio Olympic Arena.

Uchimura had trailed his 22-year-old rival for the final four of six rotations but pulled out a spectacular horizontal bar routine to seal his seventh Olympic medal over three Olympics.

The gymnast known as ‘King Kohei’ becomes the first man to successfully defend his title since countryman Sawao Kato in 1972. Uchimura now joins Kato on a record three Olympic medals in men’s all-around.

Japan also join the Soviet Union on a record six Olympic titles in the event. Whitlock, a two-time world all-around medallist, gave Britain a first Olympic men’s all-around medal since Walter Tysal’s silver in 1908.

The all-around is the pinnacle of men’s gymnastics, a battle across six disciplines between 24 of the most athletically impressive competitors in the Games.

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