China make men's team final, Japan lead qualification at Artistic Gymnastics Worlds

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Sun Wei of China competes in pommel horse event of men's qualifications at the 51st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Liverpool, Britain, Oct. 31, 2022. (Xinhua/Meng Dingbo)

China qualified for the men's team final while Japan led the field in the qualification at the 51st Artistic Gymnastics World Championships after leading the qualification on Monday.

Tokyo Olympic runners-up Japan, anchored by Olympic all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto, finished first with 260.695 points in the qualification, nearly eight points ahead of second-placed Britain.

However, Hashimoto, struggling with a wrist injury, was not pleased with his performance.

"My performance was not good," said the 21-year-old. "After my rough rotation on the pommel horse, I tried to do better in later rotations. Actually, because of my fall [on the pommel], it helped me in a way motivate me to do better."

"My left hand is not feeling good and it affected my performance on the pommel horse. I also reduced some of the difficulty I usually try on the apparatus. The injury affected my performance overall but mostly on the pommel horse and parallel bars," explained Hashimoto.

Traditional powerhouses China staged a below par performance but still reached the final after finishing fourth with 249.929 points.

"We made several mistakes and we need to find a way to improve in the final," said Olympic champion Zou Jingyuan. "Our target is qualifying for the Olympics in this competition."

Zou led the parallel bars in qualification and also reached the rings final as the second qualifier.

Zou's teammate Zhang Boheng ranked fifth to reach the men's all-around final after competing in all six events. The 22-year-old also qualified for the finals of the floor exercise and high bar.

"We have faced some physical fitness issues, and for some reason I found it difficult to find the right rhythm," said the defending all-around world champion.

"I am not very satisfied today. My fitness was not good enough to catch up in the later rotations. That's why I made some mistakes," he added.

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