Uchimura wins fifth all-around world title

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Nanning (China) (AFP) - Japan's Kohei Uchimura won a record-extending fifth straight all-around title at the world gymnastics championships Thursday, but insisted he still had work to do to reach perfection.

The 25-year-old 2012 London Olympic all-around champion, nicknamed "King Kohei", collected 91.965 points through six apparatus events with Britain's Max Whitlock second on 90.473.

Uchimura's teammate Yusuke Tanaka was third on 90.449.

Uchimura never gave up his lead after his second apparatus, the pommel horse -- although 21-year-old Whitlock, the 2014 Commonwealth all-around champion, came within a hair's breadth after the third rotation, just 0.067 points behind.

In a display of strength, consistency and artistry, the Japanese captain topped the table on his first rotation, floor exercise, and his fourth, vault. Whitlock dominated the pommel horse with 16.000 points.

"I performed well from floor to vault as I could 'stick' the landing," Uchimura said, referring to a landing without steps, stumbles or errors.

"But I stalled somewhat on parallel bars and high bar. I have always placed importance on how I perform, not on the result I get."

Arguably the greatest all-around gymnast of all time, Uchimura was the last performer of the night in Nanning and he steadily re-grasped the high bar in complicated aerial moves.

He slightly stepped ahead in landing, but this did not significantly dent his overall lead.

"The competition is simply a reflection of my daily training," said Uchimura, who has said he will compete when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympics.

"So what I am trying to do is consider how I can put my best training results into my competition performances in a perfect manner."

"If I do that, I can be satisfied with the results from the bottom of my heart."

Whitlock was a last-minute replacement for teammate Nile Wilson who withdrew because of a sore wrist.

The all-around final was contested by the top 24 qualifiers but each country could field no more than two. Whitlock had finished in the top 24, but third among his teammates.

Whitlock, who was a member of the British team which won a bronze medal at London 2012, said Wilson had told him: "Go for it and smash it."

"I'm happy to do that, and a big thanks goes to him," Whitlock said.

Uchimura has been unbeaten since he finished as runner-up to China's now-retired Yang Wei at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In 2004, he became the only gymnast, male or female, to win four world all-around titles. He is also the only to win three or more in a row.

Asked what it takes to beat Uchimura, Whitlock said: "It's all about clean routines."

"But Kohei is quite over our head at the moment as you saw by the scores today," said Whitlock, who was fourth last year.

"But people are really trying and I know this because you can see news from gymnasts around the world who are pushing their start scores, pushing their deductions," he added. "It's hard to say, but we'll wait and see."

Simone Biles, the 17-year-old who has led the United States to a second straight women's team gold in Nanning, defends her all-around crown on Friday.