Japan strikes gold in judo, triathlon, but no swimming medals at Asian Games

GUANGZHOU, China (Kyodo) Takashi Ono opened Japan’s men’s judo team’s gold medal account with victory in the men’s 90-kg final while Yoshie Ueno took the 63 kg title to give the women their second title in two days on the mats at the Asian Games on Sunday.

Japan, however, took a nosedive with no top podium spots in the pool after Olympic double gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima came fourth in the non-Olympic 50-meter breaststroke while countryman Ryo Tateishi had to make do with the silver in a time of 27.86 seconds.

Japan proved to be king of the hill in the triathlon with another 1-2 finish, this time by Yuichi Hosoda and Ryosuke Yamamoto men’s individual after the women dominated to take gold and silver on Saturday. Hosoda timed 1:52:15.56 while Yamamoto clocked 1:52:41.49.

“What an exciting moment!” said Hosoda, who came second at World Cup event in Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, in April. “After the swim I was working my legs so much they were like rubber. I was so focused and tears came to my eyes in the end,” he said.

Ono beat Uzbekistan’s Dilshod Choriev with an ippon after 29 seconds in the 90 kg final, while two-time world champion Ueno placed Taiwan’s Wang Chin-fang in a submission hold for the 63 kg crown.

The women added to the title won by Mika Sugimoto in the over 78 kg. Masahiro Takamatsu grabbed the bronze in the men’s 81 kg but Mina Watanabe failed to claim a medal in the women’s 70-kg class.

In the pool, Japan had no gold medals as China won five of the day’s six events and South Korea got one from Olympic champion Park Tae Hwan at Aoti Aquatic Centre.

Chinese breaststroker Xie Zhi covered the 50 meters in 27.80 seconds, 0.06 clear of Tateishi. Li Xiayan, also of China, was third 0.09 behind.

Kitajima clocked 28.15 to share fourth place with Vladislav Polyakov of Kazakhstan and Mohammad Alirezaei Dizicheh of Iran.

“I don’t know what to say,” Kitajima said. “I couldn’t swim my best race. I’ll just try my best in the next one (100 meters on Tuesday).”

The Japanese women took the silver in the 4×100 rally in a national record of 3:37.90.

Takuro Fujii won silver in the 100 butterfly, while Shiho Sakai and Aya Terakawa were second and third, respectively, in the women’s 200 backstroke. Takeshi Matsuda, who won the men’s 200 butterfly a day earlier, took bronze in the 200 freestyle for his second medal.

The Japanese women’s soccer team walloped Thailand in their first match 4-0.