Former Japan star hoping to grab gymnastics gold

HE is a superstar in his native Japan, and now veteran gymnast Naoya Tsukahara could be about to make a name for himself in Australia.

The 37-year-old, the oldest competitor in the gymnastics in Glasgow, became an Australian citizen last year.

He was a sporting legend in Japan, winning a bronze medal in the men's all-round competition at the 1997 world championships, a silver in 1999, and helping the country break a 28-year drought by winning the teams crown at the 2004 Athens Olympics.


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He even had the honour of officially having a move named after him for pioneering a variation of the vertical cross on the rings at the 2013 world championships.

That continued a family tradition after his father Mitsuo, the high bar champion at the 1972 Munich Olympics, had a dismount from the high bar and a vault on the pommel horse named after him during his illustrious career.

Naoya emerged as one of Australia's best hopes for a medal in Glasgow after injuries ruled out a host of up-and-coming competitors including Luke Wiwatowski, James Bacueti, Jayden Bull, Mitchell Morgans and Michael Mercieca.

Gold medals will be up for grabs in tonight's session (starting at midnight), in the men's floor, pommel and rings, and in the women's vault and uneven bars.

Australia finished second to England in the women's team event on day six, ending an unbeaten run that extended back to Malaysia in 1998.

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