Japan claimed men's team gold at the gymnastics world championships in Belgium on Tuesday for its first win in the event in eight years, scoring 255.594 points in the final.

Reigning individual all-around world champion and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Daiki Hashimoto sealed the title by logging 14.366 on the horizontal bar, the last of six apparatus contested in Antwerp.

After finishing top in Sunday's qualifying round, Japan saw off runner-up China which scored 253.794 and third-placed United States on 252.428 for its seventh title in the event at worlds.

Japanese gymnasts -- (from R) Daiki Hashimoto, Kenta Chiba, Kaito Sugimoto, Kazuma Kaya and Kazuki Minami -- pose after winning gold in the men's team all-around final at the artistic gymnastics world championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Oct. 3, 2023. (Kyodo)

"This is the happiest gold medal in my life. It carries far more weight than my individual gold," 22-year-old Hashimoto said after Japan managed to claim a win at a major world-level event after several close calls since winning gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

"It really pleases me that we've ground out the win here, something we can build on for the Paris Olympics next year."

Three of the five team members from each country performed on each apparatus, with all of their scores accumulating to the total.

The team of Hashimoto, Kazuma Kaya, Kenta Chiba, Kazuki Minami and Kaito Sugimoto did not get off to the best of the start in the final following mistakes in the opening two apparatus, the floor exercise and pommel horse.

Trailing last year's winner China by 2.466 after three of six apparatus, it was Minami's 15.000 in the vault that put Japan ahead before the lead was secured by mistake-free parallel-bar performances from Hashimoto, Kaya and Sugimoto.

"I absolutely couldn't make a mistake," said team captain Kaya, who was solid as the first performer in all five apparatus he attempted.

"I was determined to pass on the baton to the next one at any cost. I'm really happy as all of my performances were good."

Before this triumph, Japan most recently won team gold at the 2015 worlds in Glasgow, its first in 37 years, before following it up with success at the Rio Olympics.

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