Kohei Uchimura thirsty to end Japan's team drought

Led by Uchimura and newcomer Kazuma Kaya, the Japanese men qualified in first place for the team final.

Kohei Uchimura of Japan competes in the Pommel during Day Three of the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.   -  Getty Images

Kohei Uchimura steps up on Wednesday night bidding to put Japan back on the top of men's gymnastics against arch rivals China.

Led by Uchimura and newcomer Kazuma Kaya, the Japanese men qualified in first place for the team final, nearly two points ahead of Olympic champions China, who have won every team title but one since 1994.

But the final follows a different format — three gymnasts compete on each apparatus, and all three scores count — leaving little room for error.

China and Japan have gone 1-2 in the last four world championships.

Despite his bid for a sixth straight individual title 26-year-old Uchimura is focusing on winning a first team gold for Japan in 37 years in Glasgow's Hydro Arena.

Uchimura has won five Olympic medals including the 2012 all-around gold, and 16 world medals — seven in gold — but the only title missing is the team title with the Chinese winning 10 of the last 11 world titles.

China have also won two Olympic gold medals ahead of Japan and last year's world title was decided by just one tenth of a point.

"It was disappointing to lose by such a small margin," Uchimura said.

Teammate Kenzo Shirai, who scored highest on the floor in qualifying, added: "China will have a better performance in the final (than qualifying), so we also need to ask ourselves to achieve higher in order to win over them."

China's 2014 world rings champion Liu Yang warned they would do all to defend their title.

"I think we have better group power than the other teams," said Liu.

"Compared to other teams, our whole team sticks together and trains together the whole year."

Hosts Great Britain, who won the team bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games and finished fourth in last year's world team finals, are also in the battle along with the United States, last year's world bronze medallists.

The British men are also hoping to follow in the footsteps of their women who won their first ever world team medal with bronze on Tuesday night.

"I'm a big believer in success breeds success," said Max Whitlock, the 2014 all-around silver medallist.

"We want to do as well as we can in the team final. We won bronze in the (2012) Olympics and were fourth last year, but the potential is there, and it depends what we do on the day to get one of those medal places."

Russia, Switzerland, Brazil and South Korea complete the eight-team final and will also be in the chase for the podium.

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