Hiraoka claims first World Cup win


Taku Hiraoka won a halfpipe snowboarding competition on Thursday to claim his first World Cup title at a test event for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The 17-year-old Hiraoka coasted into the semifinals in first and earned the highest score of 90.25 points in his first run in the finals.

“My first run in the finals was perfect,” said Hiraoka, a native of Nara Prefecture. “I am really happy to have won. It gives me confidence toward next year’s Olympics to win here in Sochi.”

Reigning world champion Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland came second with 84.50, while 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Scott Lago of the United States was third at 83.25 and took over the World Cup lead with 1,960 points.