Japan still chasing gold


Japan failed to win any medals Friday at the Rio Paralympics, with the day’s best result by Keiichi Kimura who finished fourth in the men’s SM11 200-meter individual medley final for swimmers with visual impairment.

With just two more days of competition remaining, Japan is still looking for a gold medal to add to its collection so far of 19 medals — eight silvers and 11 bronze.

At Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Kimura touched the wall in 2 minutes, 28.76 seconds, behind Spanish winner Israel Oliver, Ukrainian runner-up Viktor Smyrnov and world-record holder Yang Bozun of China.

Kimura, 26, who took part in nine races in five events over five consecutive days and had won two silver and two bronze, made the first turn in second place but dropped to fourth by midway in the final and could not come back.

“I think I did everything possible with the energy I had left in me,” Kimura said. “I’m happy that I was able to win four medals but I would have liked one gold medal more than these four medals.”

In the women’s S5 50-meter backstroke final for swimmers with physical disability, Mayumi Narita finished fifth in 47.63 seconds. Spain’s Teresa Perales won the event.

The 46-year-old Narita, who has 15 gold, three silver and two bronze medals from three past Paralympics — Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004 — then joined three teenagers Airi Ike, Mei Ichinose and Yuki Morishita to post a national record in the women’s 4×100 medley.

But their time of 5:21.68 was only good enough for seventh place among as many teams in the final. Britain won the race in 4:45.23, renewing its own world record by .98 seconds.

“I had just done the 50-meter backstroke, but it was great that I was able to swim with these teammates (in the medley relay) and post a Japan record,” Narita said. “I’m having a good time.”

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