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Sato, Iwasa soar to 1-2 finish

Kyodo

Yukiya Sato and Yuken Iwasa won the gold and silver medals, respectively, to give Japan a 1-2 finish in the individual competition in men’s normal hill ski jumping at the Asian Winter Games on Wednesday.

A day after the event was delayed due to strong winds, the 21-year-old Sato recorded jumps of 98.5 and 94.5 meters at the K-90 Miyanomori Ski Jump Stadium, scoring a total of 254.0 points.

Iwasa earned 251.0 points for his leaps of 94 and 97.5 meters, ahead of Sergey Tkachenko of Kazakhstan, who reached 93.5 meters in both attempts for a total of 238.0 points.

“It was really good that I won here,” said Sato.

“I saw some good winds on my first try, which made up for my second. I still have the large hill and team events coming up so I now have to focus on those,” he said.

Also for Japan, Masamitsu Ito was fourth and Naoki Nakamura was sixth.

Yohei Koyama captured the men’s giant slalom gold medal in the Alpine skiing competition, topping both runs on the Teine New Slalom Course. Koyama posted a total winning time of 2 minutes, 17.51 seconds to finish ahead of South Korea’s Kim Hyeon-tae and Japan’s Hideyuki Narita.

Kim posted a combined time of 2:19.37, 1.86 behind Koyama, for the silver and Narita logged 2:20.24 for the bronze.

Japan reaches final

Sapporo KYODO

Japan secured a spot in the final of the men’s curling on Wednesday after edging South Korea 6-5 in the semifinals at the Asian Winter Games.

Japan, which lost to the same opponent 8-4 a day earlier in the final match of the preliminary round, let slip a two-point lead in the fifth and again in the seventh end but scored a crucial point in the final 10th.

South Korea grabs golds

Obihiro Hokkaido KYODO

South Korea won three gold medals in the speedskating competition at the Asian Winter Games on Wednesday, while Japan won four medals but failed to add to its gold tally a day after sweeping four events.

Ryosuke Tsuchiya won the silver and Seitaro Ichinohe the bronze in the men’s 10,000 meters behind Lee Seung-hoon. Lee, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist in the distance, crossed in 13 minutes, 18.56 seconds.

Tsuchiya logged 13:23.74 and Ichinohe 13:44.73.

Japan’s team of Shota Nakamura, Shane Williamson and Tsuchiya settled for second in the men’s team pursuit with a time of 3:45.93, behind South Korea’s 3:44.32. Kazakhstan won the bronze in 3:59.37.

Kim Bo-reum won the women’s 5,000 in 7:12.58, adding to her silver in the 3,000 on Monday. China’s Han Mei was runner-up in 7:15.94, with Mai Kiyama getting the bronze in 7:16.24.

OCA head backs Sapporo

Sapporo AP

Asia’s Olympic leader thinks the continent could stage three consecutive Winter Games and Sapporo would be an ideal location to follow Pyeongchang and Beijing.

Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said Sapporo has all the facilities needed to organize the Winter Olympics for a second time.

Sapporo hosted the Winter Games in 1972 and city officials are considering a bid for 2026, but nothing official has been decided. It would mean the IOC would return to a city in Asia for a third straight time following Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018 and Beijing in 2022.

“Sapporo is capable and ready,” Sheikh Al Fahad said while in Sapporo for the Asian Winter Games.

While Sapporo does have many advantages, several of the facilities being used for the Asian Winter Games were built for the ’72 Olympics and are showing signs of age.

The Japanese Olympic Committee would have to determine whether it is wise to move forward with a Sapporo bid before it submits its application. Japan is hosting the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

The IOC is set to launch the 2026 Olympic bid process with an invitation stage this year. Applications are expected to be due early in 2018 with the IOC electing a winner in 2019.

Other cities working with their National Olympic Committees on a potential bid include Innsbruck, Austria, Sion, Switzerland and Calgary, Canada.