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China, Japan lead gymnastics qualifying

Aug. 9, 2008 at 9:41 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- China and Japan appeared ready to battle for the men's Olympic team gymnastics title after tremendous qualifying efforts Saturday.

The United States, missing both of the injured Hamm brothers, earned a spot in the team finals but the Chinese and Japanese were a cut above the rest.

China piled up 374.675 points in qualifying and Japan had 369.550. Russia was a distant third at 366.225, followed by the Americans at 365.200.

Yang Wei of China led the individual race with 93.875 points, ahead of three Japanese gymnasts -- Kohei Uchimura, Koki Sakamoto and Hiroyuki Tomita. No American was in the top five.

Defending all-around Olympic champion Paul Hamm and his twin brother Morgan both have been forced to miss the Games with injuries.

Qualifying for the women will be Sunday and the men's team event will take place Monday.

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