KAZAN, RUSSIA – Yukiko Inui and Risako Mitsui won the bronze in the women’s duet technical routine in synchronized swimming at the FINA World Aquatics Championships on Sunday, the first medal in the biennial event for Japan since 2007.
The pair scored 92.0079 points under the tutelage of Masayo Imura, who returned to coach her native Japan last year after quitting following the 2004 Athens Olympics. Russian pair Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina, the 2012 London Olympic champions, scored 95.4672 for the gold and China’s Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan took silver with 93.3279.
“I don’t think I have ever been as nervous. It’s just beyond words,” said Inui, weeping tears of joy.
Both expressed their gratitude for the tough coaching style of Imura, who guided Japan to eight medals in six Olympics before heading to China.
Imura brought China a bronze in the team routine at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver in London four years later, when China also won bronze in the duet routine.
Mitsui said, “We’ve managed to swim believing in her (Imura’s) coaching. It (winning the bronze) finally felt a bit real once I had my medal around her neck.”
In the mixed duet technical routine, making its first appearance at the worlds, Atsushi Abe and Yumi Adachi placed fifth with 82.3509 points. American pair Bill May and Christina Jones won with 88.5108.
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