Tanigawa and Hashimoto spearhead Japanese charge

Tanigawa and Hashimoto spearhead Japanese charge

By James Reid

Wataru Tanigawa and Daiki Hashimoto led the way for Japan as they stormed to the summit and set the pace in men’s qualifying.

Tanigawa and Hashimoto sit one and two at the top of the all-around standings, with Japan nearly eight marks clear at the top of the team leader board with just the final two subdivisions to come.

The Japanese team raised the bar across all six pieces of apparatus in Liverpool to surge past hosts Great Britain, USA, and rivals China.

Ryosuke Doi took top spot on floor with 14.766 and Yuya Kamoto scored 15.433 to go second on parallel bars.

But both Tanigawa and Hashimoto were critical of their individual outings in Liverpool and warned the competition that their ceilings are much higher still.

“My performance was not good,” said reigning all-around Olympic champion Hashimoto, who came off the pommel and scored just 11.666.

“After my rough rotation on the pommel horse, I tried to do better in later rotations.

“Because of my fall, it helped me in a way to motivate me to do better.”

“It wasn’t perfect,” added Tanigawa. “There are some small things to be fixed but there was no big mistake across the six apparatus, so that was good.”

While much of the talk pre-Championships had been about double Olympic champion Hashimoto, it was 26-year-old Tanigawa who took all-around top spot in qualifying, finishing 0.066 marks ahead of his teammate.

Hashimoto has complained of injury throughout his time in Liverpool, and Tanigawa believes if the 21-year-old can regain full fitness there will be no stopping him no matter the improvements he makes himself.

“He is more than a rival,” added Tanigawa. “We have a friendship and if Hashimoto produces the performance that he can do, I have no chance.

“I want him to have the best performance.

“I need to fix some small mistakes. In the vault I was meant to jump a 6.0 [difficulty] but made a 5.6, so that’s one thing that definitely comes up.”

Hashimoto’s wrists have plagued him in recent weeks and they proved irksome again as he fell off the pommel.

Yet 2021 world all-around silver medallist was imperious on his favoured high bar, topping the standings with a huge 15.100 as well as posting 14.466 on floor to recover from his blip on pommel to tee up a mouth watering clash with Zhang Boheng in the all-around final.

“My left hand is not feeling good and it affected my performance on pommel horse,” admitted Hashimoto.

“I also reduced some of the difficulty I usually try on the apparatus.

“The injury affects my performance overall but mostly on pommel horse and parallel bars.”

While both men were looking for room to improve on their own outings, Tanigawa was upbeat about the overall team showing, which saw Japan set the standard ahead of Wednesday’s final.

And Tanigawa is confident that another performance like their one in qualifying could yield the gold they crave.

“Today, the performance overall was really good,” he added. “Of course, someone made a mistake but someone covered it up, and vice versa.

“If we do the same thing [again], it’s going to be the same as we achieved today.”

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