SAPPORO – Yuki Kobayashi earned her second cross-country skiing gold medal at the Asian Winter Games on Thursday, winning the women’s 5-km classical before Akira Lenting triumphed in the men’s 10-km classical.
Kobayashi added to the 10-km free title she won on Tuesday, clocking a time of 14 minutes, 56.1 seconds at Shirahatayama Open Stadium.
The 29-year-old Kobayashi finished ahead of Kazakhstan’s Yelena Kolomina, who took the silver in 15:02.8 and China’s Li Hongxue, who won the bronze in 15:18.6.
“I went all out for it right from the start. I am simply delighted,” Kobayashi said.
“I have been skiing here determined to deliver results to make up for (the disappointment of) not making the world championships.”
Also for Japan, Kozue Takizawa was fifth and Chisa Obayashi was sixth.
Lenting, whose mother is Japanese and father is from New Zealand, posted a comfortable victory in the men’s event, clocking 25:15.6 to finish more than 16 seconds ahead of South Korea’s Kim Magnus, the 1.4-km sprint classical winner.
“This was a discipline I needed to win so I’m relieved. I was a bit worried after finishing third in the 15-km free (on Tuesday) but switched gears and told myself I’ll do fine,” said Lenting.
Kim finished in 25:32.5 to take the silver and the bronze went to Japan’s Kohei Shimizu, who timed 25:39.0.
In the men’s biathlon 10-km sprint, Yan Savitskiy led Kazakhstan to a 1-2 finish while Japan’s Mikito Tachizaki took third place.
Savitskiy clocked 26:59.2, Vassiliy Podkorytov was second in 27:14.2 and Tachizaki logged 27:19.4.
Kim wins 1,500 meters
South Korea’s Kim Min-seok won the men’s 1,500 meters on the final day of the speedskating competition at the Asian Winter Games on Thursday, with Japan’s Takuro Oda and Taro Kondo joining him on the podium.
Kim logged a new Asian record of 1 minute, 46.26 seconds for the gold medal. Oda, who won the 1,000 on Tuesday, logged 1:46.76 and Kondo 1:47.88 at Obihiro Forest Speed Skating Oval.
Also Thursday, Miho Takagi won her third gold medal in speedskating when she bagged the women’s mass start.
Takagi, who struck gold in the 3,000 and 1,500 races as well as silver in the 1,000 at Tokachi Oval, maintained an early lead and scored 71 points as she finished in 8:21.81.
Compatriot Ayano Sato, who broke away from the rest along with Takagi early on, scored 53 points and finished 0.07 seconds later. South Korea’s Kim Bo-reum took third on 20 points, crossing in 8:47.46.
It was Miho’s elder sister Nana who helped out the top two finishers, staying with the pack to keep the other skaters — chiefly Kim — in check and widen the gap to the top.
“We won the gold and silver as we planned, and showed our team strength,” Takagi said. “Once we had the 200-meter lead, the rest slowed down so I felt we were safe.
“I wasn’t following her (Nana) all the way but all the people told me after the race that she did a really good job.”
Skating before a packed crowd in the city where she started the sport, Takagi looked back at the meet positively.
“I’ve missed out on one gold, and as I aim to win all the events I compete in I didn’t achieve my target. But my performances in the 1,500 and 3,000 were something I could be happy with,” she said.