Kitatsuru zooms to cycling gold

Kyodo

Cyclist Tsubasa Kitatsuru sped to the men’s sprint title on Wednesday, while Ai Kondo and Naoko Kamata capped a successful Asian Games campaign in style with Japan’s only sailing gold in the women’s 470 event.

News photoJapanese cyclist Tsubasa Kitatsuru pedals in the men’s sprint at Aspire indoor arena in the Asian Games on Wednesday. The 21-year-old Kitatsuru won the gold medal by defeating South Korea’s Choi Lae Seon in the decider with a time of 10.882 seconds.
KYODO PHOTO

In karate, Japan bagged another handful of medals, including a gold by Yuka Sato in the 60-kg kumite, but there was heartbreak for the Japanese women’s soccer team which lost 4-2 on penalties in the final to Asian Games champion North Korea, while Japan’s women also fell at the last hurdle in field hockey, going down 1-0 to China.

Kitatsuru recovered from a gaffe in the second of the final’s three races to beat South Korea’s Choi Lae Seon in the men’s sprint, winning the decider in 10.882 seconds after taking the first race in 11.532 and then being relegated to second in the next for interfering with his opponent. The 21-year-old is the fifth Japanese rider in as many Asian Games to win the men’s sprint gold.

At sea, Kondo and Kamata, who had already secured the gold after 10 races, were confirmed as champions with 11 marks after crossing the line ahead of Singapore’s Toh Liying and Tan Li Yong in the 12th and last race. Toh and Tan won silver on 26, while China’s Yu Chunyan and Wen Yimei took bronze on 27.

Japan added two silvers and a bronze on the final day of sailing, Shibuki Iizuka and Shingen Furuya finishing second to Liu Xiaman and Cheng Feng Yuan of Singapore in the men’s 420, and Yumi Takahashi and Kae Tsugaya ending as runnersup to Singapore’s Tan Wei Lin and Lim Tze Ting in the women’s 420, while Kan Yamada and Kenichi Nakamura took bronze in the men’s 470.

Sato, bronze medalist at this year’s world championships, took Japan’s third gold of the day with a 6-2 win over Thi Hai Yen Nguyen of Vietnam to cap a run of three convincing wins in her weight class.

In the men’s weight categories, however, Shion Kayahara was edged for the gold by Iranian Hassan Rouhani 8-7 at 65 kg and Ko Matsuhisa also had to settle for silver in losing 3-2 to Iran’s Jasem Modami Vishkaei in the 75-kg final.

Ryosuke Shimizu also missed gold by falling to Kuwait’s Ahmad Mohammad in the 80 kg, while Takuro Nihei took bronze at 70 kg on the final day of the karate at the Doha Games.

In women’s field hockey, too, Japan ended with silver after a 1-0 loss to champion China in the final. Ren Ye scored off a penalty corner six minutes after the break, and Japan failed to convert a similar penalty in the dying minutes. The loss meant the Japanese women, who topped the preliminary group and secured a place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, have yet to win an Asian Games gold. India edged South Korea 1-0 in the bronze medal match.

In tennis, Satoshi Iwabuchi and teammate Akiko Morigami had to settle for silver in the mixed doubles after top seeds Leander Paes and Sania Mirza of India rallied with the aid of a partisan crowd to win the gold 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.

Earlier in the day in wushu Ai Miyaoka won the women’s taijiquan silver, finishing 0.12 point behind Malaysia’s Chai Fong Ying who claimed gold with 19.38, while Ng Shin Yii of Malaysia took bronze.

Japan took bronze in the men’s team sabre after losing to South Korea 45-38 in the semifinals, and it was a similar story in the women’s team epee as Japan went down to South Korea 45-33 in the semis.

In the playoff for bronze in women’s handball Japan beat China 25-22, and took another bronze in the women’s doubles in sepaktakraw after losing 2-1 in the semifinals to Vietnam, which went on to beat Myanmar 2-0 for the gold.

There was more bronze for Japan in the men’s 3-meter springboard diving as Ken Terauchi finished third on 478.95 points behind China’s He Chong on 530.40 and Luo Yutong on 488.95. In the women’s 3-meter springboard Ryoko Nishii and Misako Yamashita missed out on medals in fourth and fifth places.

Japan’s men and women archers were both ousted in the quarterfinals of the team events, losing respectively to India 219-206 and North Korea 208-201.

Golden gamers

DOHA (Kyodo) Yukiko Ueno threw a perfect game as defending champion Japan trounced Taiwan 7-0 to win its second straight Asian Games softball gold medal on Thursday.

Ueno struck out seven, including five in a row, while Eri Yamada and Satoko Mabuchi combined for five RBIs in a lopsided affair called after five innings under the tournament’s mercy rule.

Rei Nishiyama led off the bottom of the first inning with an infield single, moved to second on an Emi Naito groundout and scored as Yamada doubled to right-center. A two-out single by Sachiko Ito then drove home Yamada, making it 2-0.

Yamada and Satoko Mabuchi hit consecutive RBI singles in the third to increase the lead to four runs before Mabuchi hit a two-run double to cap a three-run fourth. Taiwan ended with silver in softball for the second straight Asian Games.

Heartbreaking loss

DOHA (Kyodo) Japan suffered penalty heartbreak in the women’s soccer final at the Asian Games on Wednesday after a 4-2 shootout defeat to North Korea saw it finish with the silver medal.

Japan battled bravely to take the game to a shootout after a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes, but it missed its first two spots kicks and North Korea kept its cool to retain the title it won in Busan four years ago.

“The players did the best they could and to lose the final is very disappointing,” said Japan coach Hiroshi Ohashi.

“They gave it their all to the bitter end, but to win titles we have to create a team that can control the game like North Korea did tonight.”

Despite the loss, the Japanese women went one better than four years ago, when they took bronze.

Looking to hit on the break, Japan spent the first half soaking up wave after wave of pressure and Miyuki Yanagita cleared off the line before goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto pushed away a Ri Kum Suk header six minutes before halftime.