Bronze in super combined gives Momoka Muraoka third medal at Paralympics


Sit skier Momoka Muraoka won her third medal of the Pyeongchang Paralympics on Tuesday, taking third in women’s Alpine skiing super combined.

The 21-year-old Muraoka finished the super-G leg of the event 0.32 second behind Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany, who had to settle for silver after winning seven straight Paralympic Alpine events between the 2014 Sochi Games and Pyeongchang. Germany’s Anna-Lenna Forster won the gold medal.

“I had a pretty good time going into the slalom, which I’m not great at. It was a resounding loss and I’m disappointed,” Muraoka said.

Japan is still looking for its first gold here.

Piloting her signature pink sit-ski, Muraoka has earned the silver in downhill and bronze in the super-G at Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Schaffelhuber, 25, took the gold in both events.

In the men’s sitting combined, three-time gold medalist Akira Kano finished the super-G leg 2.19 seconds behind leader Jesper Pedersen of Norway. Takeshi Suzuki was in ninth, while five-time Paralympian Taiki Morii’s latest attempt at his first Paralympic gold ended prematurely when he crashed out.

“I’m gutted, but what can I do but grit my teeth and prepare for my next race,” said Morii, who is also competing in Wednesday’s giant slalom and Saturday’s slalom.

At Alpensia Biathlon Centre, Keiichi Sato missed four of his 20 shots in the men’s 12.5-km standing biathlon to finish ninth, while 18-year-old Paralympic newcomer Masaru Hoshizawa missed half his shots and came in last in a field of 14.

Benjamin Daviet of France came away with his second gold of the games with a time of 35 minutes, 25.3 seconds.

In the women’s 10-km biathlon standing, Momoko Dekijima was ninth after missing nine of her shots, while Yurika Abe was last among the 11 athletes that reached the finish line. Neutral Paralympic Athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva added her third gold of the games in 34:10.0.

Also Tuesday, Japan’s para ice hockey team finished its preliminary round with a winless record, after losing 3-0 to the Czech Republic at Gangneung Hockey Centre.

Japan had difficulty passing and failed to get anything past Czech goalie Michal Vapenka.

“The reason we lost was because we made errors throughout. They know our strategy from previous friendlies. So we were trying to work past them but failed,” coach Kojin Nakakita said.

Japan will not advance to the playoff stage and its best possible finish is sixth.