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Uemura added to Sochi squad

Kyodo

Aiko Uemura was named to Japan’s Winter Olympics team for the fifth time on Monday, when the Ski Association of Japan added more athletes to the squad it is sending to Sochi next month.

The 34-year-old Uemura was one of four women moguls skiers who received their tickets to Sochi. By making her fifth Olympic squad, Uemura is now in the same company with speed skater Tomomi Okazaki and 1998 Nagano Games moguls gold medalist Tae Satoya. Uemura, who was fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games, will be joined by Miki Ito, Arisa Murata and Junko Hoshino.

“I feel very pleased to be able to compete with such reliable colleagues,” Uemura said. “I’m confident from all the work I’ve put in and I will work hard to be able to ski to the best of my ability.”

Ito, who will be going to her third Olympics, was second at last season’s world championships, but is nursing a knee injury. Murata competed at Vancouver, while Hoshino booked her spot when she finished third in a World Cup event on Sunday — the last day to qualify for Sochi.

Two men will compete for Japan in moguls, Sho Endo and Nobuyuki Nishi. Endo was third in this season’s opening World Cup event.

Chiho Takao was also named to the Japan team in women’s slopestyle skiing, a new event from the Sochi Games.

Men’s Alpine slalom skier Naoki Yuasa will be going to the games for the first time since he finished seventh in 2006 at Turin, while Akira Sasaki, who has three second-place slalom finishes on the World Cup circuit will be going to the games for the fourth time.