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China rules, but Japan snares silver from hosts

The raised index fingers of China's gymnasts left no doubt which men's team had won the Olympic title but for 15 minutes, British fans clapped and cheered as the hosts snared an unexpected silver on Monday. Except they had not.

The raised index fingers of China's gymnasts left no doubt which men's team had won the Olympic title but for 15 minutes, British fans clapped and cheered as the hosts snared an unexpected silver on Monday.

Except they had not. Three-time world champion Kohei Uchimura could not believe his eyes, or the scoreboard, when his pommel horse score of 13.466 flashed up to show that Japan, who had been lying second going into the final rotation, had dived out of the medals to fourth.

That left Louis Smith and his British teammates leaping for joy while the quintet from Ukraine exchanged high fives as they celebrated grabbing a last-gasp bronze.

However, even as the roaring fans stamped their feet in approval and Princes William and Harry joined in to give Britain's famous five a standing ovation, Japanese officials scrambled to lodge an appeal against Uchimura's score.

Suddenly all celebrations came to a standstill as 15,500 pairs of eyes turned to the giant screen at North Greenwich Arena as gymnasts, fans and media waited for the verdict.

For 15 minutes, officials huddled around a video screen as they reviewed Uchimura's dismount from the pommel horse.

As the giant scoreboard flashed the message, "Men's pommel horse inquiry accepted," Uchimura and his teammates sat stone-faced as officials scrutinized the image of the 23-year-old completing a messy dismount after going into a handstand on the block of wood. When the judgement was finally announced, it showed that Uchimura's score had been increased by 0.7 of a point, enough to bump Japan up to silver and Britain down to a bronze.

The crowd booed, Uchimura and co. who had been going for gold, smiled in relief and Ukraine's dejected gymnasts stormed out in disgust.

Smith, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham could not care less as they whooped in delight, knowing Britain had won their first Olympic team medal in a century.

"We knew whichever way it went we were getting a medal," coach Eddie Van Hoof said. "A silver would have been nice but we will take the bronze."