• Kyodo


Haruna Matsumoto placed a career-best second in a women’s World Cup halfpipe event on Sunday, securing a podium finish for the first time in five seasons.

In a final round in which three of six competitors pulled out due to bad weather conditions, the 23-year-old Matsumoto put down a run including both frontside and backside 900s, earning 87.50 points.

The United States’ three-time Olympic medalist and snowboarding legend Kelly Clark posted her first victory of the season with a 91.75-point pass.

“It’s a great feeling to stand on the podium, but it brings you back to earth when you see how happy the winner is,” Matsumoto said.

“In the final, I was able to land the two-and-a-half spin, which I couldn’t do in training. It’s a confidence boost that I didn’t lose the personal battle despite the bad weather,” she said.

In women’s slopestyle, Asami Hirono finished eighth.

In the women’s parallel giant slalom final held in Bansko, Bulgaria, Tomoka Takeuchi finished on a World Cup podium for the 11th time in her career, placing third behind Alena Zavarzina of Russia and Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland.

It was the first time since placing second in the 2014 season finale that Takeuchi, a silver medalist at the Sochi Winter Olympics, finished among the top three in a World Cup event.

The 33-year-old Takeuchi made her comeback to competition after undergoing surgery to repair a torn left knee ligament in March 2016.

“After the Sochi Olympics, there have been more lows than highs,” Takeuchi said. ‘There were times I regretted continuing to compete altogether, but when you see a result like I did today it makes you happy.”

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