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Rikako Ikee’s quest for Asian Games perfection ends with silver finish in 4×200 relay

Kyodo

Rikako Ikee’s quest for a perfect Asian Games slipped away Tuesday, when the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle team swam to silver, a disappointing result after she had earlier kept her streak alive with her fourth gold in four events.

She won the women’s 100-meter butterfly, her fourth gold here.

Ikee, who has already won the 100 freestyle, 50 and 100 butterfly, and 4×100 freestyle gold, has eight potential events on her Jakarta and Palembang 2018 program and claimed gold in the 100 fly with a games record time, a 56.30-second swim at the GBK Aquatic Center.

In that race, Ikee, 18, beat China’s Zhang Yufei and South Korea’s An Seh-yeon to claim Japan’s third gold of the night.

The women’s 4×200 team trailed from the start as China pulled away to touch in a games-record 7 minutes, 48.61 seconds, 5.22 ahead of the Japanese quartet.

Yui Ohashi had earlier won gold in the women’s 400-meter individual medley. The 22-year-old Ohashi is competing in her first Asian Games but is the reigning world 200 IM silver medalist, and she was head and shoulders above Asia’s best on Tuesday.

After falling behind fast-starting Kim Seo-yeong in the butterfly, Ohashi moved into the lead in the breaststroke leg and pulled away to win in 4: 34.58.

Kim held on for silver and Sakiko Shimizu earned bronze.

Just minutes after Ohashi’s triumph, Yasuhiro Koseki won an extremely tight men’s 200 breaststroke, beating a fast-finishing Ippei Watanabe by a fingernail.

In winning his first Asian Games gold, Koseki hit the wall in 2:07.81with Watanabe just 0.01 behind. China’s Qin Haiyang won the bronze medal.

“It was a very aggressive race as I expected,” said Koseki. “At the end, it was really tough, but I am glad I could finish it up.

“I used up all that I had over the last 50 meters but I think that is something I can build on going forward.”

China’s three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang denied Japan gold in the men’s 400 freestyle, dominating to finish more than four seconds ahead of a tight race for silver betweenNaito Ehara and Kosuke Hagino.

China also finished first in the men’s 50 free, Yu Hexin touching in 22.11 to beat Katsumi Nakamura by 0.09 seconds with Shunichi Nakao in bronze position.