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Japanese men dominate podium in snowboard World Cup halfpipe

Kyodo

Japan swept the podium in the men’s halfpipe at a snowboard World Cup event on Thursday, with Ayumu Hirano, Raibu Katayama and Yuto Totsuka finishing first, second and third.

The trio respectively registered point totals of 97.75, 90.75 and 90.50, while Naito Ando (88.75) finished fourth and Taku Hiraoka (77.25) seventh to round out Japan’s domination of the event at the Secret Garden resort.

The victory continued a return to winning form for Sochi Olympic silver medalist Hirano, 19, who won his first World Cup halfpipe event in four seasons earlier this month in Colorado.

With the start of the Pyeongchang Olympics less than two months away, Hirano said his second consecutive World Cup win provided good practice for the Wint er Games.

“I feel like I’m in a good flow,” he said. “From here, I hope to focus on my preparation for the Olympics, rather than paying too much attention on tournament results.”

Sena Tomita scored 87.00 points to finish second in the women’s halfpipe, between China’s Liu Jiayu (92.75) in first and compatriot Cai Xuetong (82.25) in third. Kurumi Imai (79.75) and Hikaru Oe (76.75) finished fourth and fifth respectively.

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