INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA – Ai Ueda and Yuichi Hosoda each won a gold medal on Thursday at the Asian Games as Japan claimed the top two prizes in both the women’s and men’s triathlons.
Ueda won a Japan one-two finish in the women’s triathlon, and Hosoda, the defending champ, did the same in the men’s event a few hours later, when he pipped teammate Hirokatsu Tayama at the finish line by 13 seconds to complete his race in 1 hour, 49 minutes, 11 seconds.
It was the second straight Asian Games in which Japan took the top two spots in both triathlons. Mariko Adachi and Akane Tsuchihashi won gold and silver in Guangzhou, China, four years ago, when Ryosuke Yamamoto joined Hosoda on the men’s podium.
“To continue this historic run is meaningful, but for myself, I really wanted to be the one who took the gold medal,” said Doha bronze medalist Ueda, who posted a winning time of 2:01:47 to finish ahead of Juri Ide.
“I was able to produce a race I can build on for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.”
Fifth after the 1.5-km swimming leg, Ueda took her place among the leading pack in the 40-km cycling leg and pulled away in the 10-km run to go one better than the silver medal she won at the Asian Games in Doha in 2006.
Ide, who had a miniscule lead going into the run, finished second in 2:03:07. China’s Wang Lianyuan took the bronze in 2:03:13.
“I was sluggish in the swim,” Ide said. “Personally, it’s frustrating, but it’s a relief that Team Japan could achieve its goal.”
Hosoda said he felt Japan’s success in Guangzhou raised the stakes here.
“Because we took the gold and silver four years ago, there was some pressure,” he said. “I think this has been a good step for us (toward the next Olympics).”