RIO DE JANEIRO – Sho Sakai secured an Olympic berth for the first time in his career when he finished among the top 16 in the men’s 10-meter springboard at a World Cup meet on Monday.
Sakai, 23, scored 379.25 points to place 16th in the semifinals at Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, earning himself a ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Games in August despite failing to advance to the final in the Olympic qualifier.
One of the Olympic selection criteria set by the Japan Swimming Federation is to place among the top 16 in the Feb. 19-24 competition.
In the women’s 3-meter springboard, Minami Itahashi finished 22nd in the qualifying round and missed out on a chance to earn an Olympic ticket in a second event. Itahashi, 16, has already qualified for the Olympics in the 10-meter platform.