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GUJO, Gifu Pref. (Kyodo) Ryo Aono took advantage of a weakened field to win his first title of the season in the men’s halfpipe at a World Cup snowboarding meet Wednesday.

Aono topped the heats with 47.5 points before coming from behind to win the final with the best score of 43.8 on his second run at Takasu Snow Park.

Australian Ben Mates, who had briefly taken the lead, took second place with 40.6 and was followed in third by China’s Shi Wancheng with 38.6. Japan’s Kazuumi Fujita, last year’s winner, was fourth with 38.5.

“I didn’t want to lose at home in Japan,” said Aono while admitting there was plenty of room for improvement. “I’m not yet satisfied with the height I’m getting and will give myself 50 (out of 100) today.”

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