'Now we can go for a medal': Miyata raises Japan's expectations

Shoko Miyata put in a consistently excellent performance during qualifying at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (Pic: Simone Ferraro)
Shoko Miyata put in a consistently excellent performance during qualifying at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (Pic: Simone Ferraro)

By Paul Martin in Liverpool

Shoko Miyata has reset her World Artistic Gymnastic Championship ambitions following a superb individual and team display during qualifying.

Miyata left the stage after the seventh subdivision sitting inside the top six in each discipline apart from uneven bars, her excellent performance spearheading a Japanese surge to second in the team standings – above China and behind only USA.

Having taken Asian Championship silver in vault and floor earlier this year, Miyata used her World Championship debut to continue her momentum and plans on showing no let-up when finals begin.

“Our first aim was to reach the finals, but now, we have achieved more than we expected,” she said.

“Our motivation wasn’t at that level before we started qualifications. We’re going to have to reset now, we know the scores we can get so now we can aim for a medal now.

“I will be recovering tomorrow. In the finals, my body control might be quite difficult but that’s something I have to get over.”

Miyata mastered the beam, which has troubled several of her potential podium rivals over qualification, over the course of her rotation and was visibly delighted after nailing her dismount.

The reaction endeared her to a sizeable crowd inside the M&S Bank Arena and she hopes the Japanese team will keep putting smiles on faces over the course of the week.

“The scores and the results were good, but from the very beginning, (we showed) our personalities – everyone has a big smile, we’re having fun, that is part of Japanese culture,” she said.

“We are willing to have fun, to perform well.”

Japan’s performance sets up a potentially mouthwatering battle with China on Tuesday evening but Miyata – who could become one of this Championship’s breakout stars in the coming days - followed Ou Yushan and Luo Rui in insisting they will only be thinking about their own nation.

“Of course, we are competitors, we have to think about the others, but more than that, we are focusing on ourselves,” she said.

“They (China) have their own performance, we have our performance.”

The World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022 will be one of the largest international sporting events ever to be held in the city. Over 500 gymnasts from more than 70 countries will compete at the M&S Bank Arena from 29 October to 6 November 2022. Tickets are available at www.2022worldgymnastics.com/tickets.