• Kyodo

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Japan won its first gold medal of the East Asian Games after a 2-1 victory over South Korea in the women’s soft tennis team final on Monday.

Rie Watanabe and Atsuko Horikoshi trailed the South Koreans 4-2 in the final doubles match but fought back bravely to put Japan on the gold medal board. Japan’s men’s team picked up the silver after falling to Taiwan.

There were also silver medals for Yoshinao Masatoki in the men’s singles bowling final won by South Korean Kang Hee Won, Japan’s women’s gymnastics team and diver Ryoko Nishii.

In women’s gymnastics, Miki Uemura and Manami Ishizaka both delivered strong performances to help Japan to the silver with 145.022 points behind winners China.

China’s Ma Qianli won the 3-meter springboard diving gold with 338.64 points, with Nishii edging out China’s Xu Mian for the silver with 325.26.

Ken Terauchi collected his second diving bronze after finishing third in the men’s 1-meter springboard final. Mai Nakagawa and Misako Yamashita took bronze in the women’s 10-meter synchronized platform final.

North Korea’s Hong In Sun and Choe Kum Hui upstaged powerhouse China to take the synchronized gold. It was North Korea’s first gold medal in 12 years at the East Asian Games. The reclusive communist state sat out the 1997 and 2001 editions in Busan, South Korea, and Osaka.

In tennis, 15-year-old Ayumi Morita, Japan’s youngest ever pro, got off to a strong start in the women’s singles, taking just 40 minutes to crush Mongolian Natsagsuren Jigjidsuren 6-1, 6-0.

Japan’s men’s hockey team beat Taiwan 6-0 in their preliminary round match with the men’s basketball team overpowering Macao 97-43.

China leads the medal standings with 31 gold, five silver and four bronze. Japan has one gold, eight silver and nine bronze.

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