Melbourne: A Japanese is Australia’s best medal hope in the gymnastics for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow! Sounds strange but it is.
Naoya Tsukahara, 37, was given the Australian citizen in 2013 after an illustrious career in Japan, has emerged as injury-ravaged Australian men gymnastic team’s best medal hope in Glasgow, reports the Australian media.
Tsukahara, who is like a senior citizen in gymnastics, won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and also has multiple World Championships medals in artistic gymnastics.
Tsukahara’s father Mitsuo Tsukahara is a gymnastics legend in Japan having won nine Olympic medals, including five gold during the 1960s and 1970s.
Australian coach John Curtin said that his team is inexperienced but Tsukahara, who speaks little English, is the best medal hope.
“As a team, if we have a great day then we may sneak in there, but I’d say we’re looking more at individual medals at the moment and probably our best chance is Naoya on rings and parallel bars,” Curtin was quoted as saying in the Australian media.
Curtin is using the Commonwealth Games as a platform to blood young gymnasts for the 2016 Olympics after losing out Luke Wiwatowski, James Bacueti, Jayden Bull, Mitchell Morgans and Michael Mercieca to injury.