MINAMI UONUMA, Niigata Pref. (Kyodo) Ryo Aono, who clinched the men’s halfpipe gold medal at the Snowboarding World Championships in January, won his first title in the halfpipe at the national championships on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Aono collected 45.8 points to claim the crown at Joetsu Kokusai ski resort. Winter University Games double-title winner Kazuhiro Kokubo came second with 43.9, while Kosuke Hosokawa was third with 41.4.

Aono shrugged off poor conditions on the pipe after it rained and snowed intermittently, executing a difficult double twist maneuver in the final while maintaining superb height.

In the women’s halfpipe, 18-year-old Rana Okada overwhelmed the field to claim her first title with 40.6.

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