AJIGASAWA, Aomori Pref. – Japanese freestyle skier Aiko Uemura and Yu Masukawa took full advantage of costly mistakes by their biggest rivals Thursday to give host Japan a golden double in the moguls of the Winter Asian Games.
in the Winter Asian Games on Thursday at Ajigasawa skiing ground in Aomori Prefecture. Japan’s
Yu Masukawa won the men’s contest.
Uemura, bronze medalist at the 2001 World Championships, collected 26.43 points for her run as she outclassed the field in all three elements — turns, air and time — on her way to a convincing victory on the Twister course in Ajigasawa.
“I saved my energy in the qualifying round but went all out in the final. I saw her (Tae Satoya) mistake and thought I would have to be careful,” said Uemura, who also had the best score in the qualifiers.
Irina Kormysheva of Kazakstan was a distant second with 22.84 and Yumi Kubota of Japan was third with 21.17, ahead of national team member Miyuki Hatanaka who was fourth with 20.84.
In the men’s final, 18-year-old Masukawa earned 25.89 points and edged Kenro Shimoyama by 0.22 to lead a Japanese 1-2, with Ivan Sidorov of Kazakstan taking the bonze with 20.08.
In short track speedskating, South Korean teenager Ahn Hyun Soo upstaged Olympic silver medalist Li Jiajun of China to capture the men’s 1,500 meters gold medal on the opening day of competition.
Salt Lake City silver medalist Choi Eun Kyung led South Korea to a clean sweep of the medals in the women’s 1,500.
In the men’s 1,500, 17-year-old Ahn, overall 2002 junior world champion, edged Li by a hair’s breadth to clock 2 minutes, 30.354 seconds for the gold.
Li (2:30.405) managed to break up a South Korean block out to take the silver and leave Ahn’s teammate Lee Seung Jae (2:30.607) with the bronze.
Meanwhile, five-kilometer winner Svetlana Malahova-Shishkina anchored Kazakstan to a comfortable victory in the women’s 4×5-km relay as the country came within one race of a clean sweep of gold medals cross country skiing.
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