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Yuki Kobayashi picked up her third Asian Winter Games gold medal when she helped Japan win the women’s 4×5-km relay in cross-country skiing on Friday.

The team of Kobayashi, Hikari Miyazaki, Kozue Takizawa and Chisa Obayashi clocked a total time of 1 hour, 8 minutes, 16.6 seconds at Shirahatayama Open Stadium, while China placed second (1:08:41.4) and South Korea third (1:09:13.3).

Kobayashi, who won the 5-km classical and 10-km free earlier in the week, posted the fastest time of 15:51.6 in the third leg.

“Victory here makes me happier than winning the individual events,” said Kobayashi. “It was our strategy as a team to widen the lead in my leg. It went as planned.”

In the biathlon held at Nishioka Biathlon Stadium, Mikito Tachizaki struck gold in the men’s 12.5-km pursuit with a time of 38:47.2, followed by Kazakhstan’s Yan Savitskiy (38:53.0) and South Korea’s Kim Yong-gyu (39:58.7).

“I was only 20 seconds behind the leader (Savitskiy) when I started so I thought I had a chance. I really wanted the win so I hung in there,” said Tachizaki, winner of bronze in the 10-km sprint.

Also for Japan, Junji Nagai was fifth, Tsukasa Kobonoki was seventh and Kosuke Ozaki was 11th.

China wins curling gold

Sapporo KYODO

China claimed an 11-4 victory over Japan to win the Sapporo Asian Winter Games men’s curling gold medal on Friday.

Neither team could seize the momentum in the first three ends with China the first to take the ascendency with the last stone in the fourth, taking the end 3-0.

The next stanza proved a turning point as Japan skip Yusuke Morozumi was unable to work his shot on target, failing to clear a critically placed Chinese stone and giving up another 3-0 end to leave his team in a five shot hole.

China skip Liu Rui and his squadron of sweepers continued to lay down precise stones as China scored two more in the sixth and the eighth before the game was called with two ends to spare.

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