• Kyodo


Ryosuke Irie lost his bid for a fourth straight gold medal in the Asian Games men’s 200-meter backstroke on Thursday, but teammates Satomi Suzuki and Shinri Shioura both grabbed gold in their events.

Irie, the three-time defending champ, won a silver medal but was in fact blown out of the pool, finishing in 1 minute, 55.11 seconds, 1.12 seconds behind Xu Jiayu of China, the runner-up to Irie four years ago in Incheon, South Korea.

“I wasn’t really concerned with him (Xu),” said Irie. “I was just focused on swimming my own race. When everything is over, I’ll have a chance to break this down, but I have another race and I’m focused on that now.”

The victory over 200 meters gave Xu a sweep of the backstroke golds here after wins in the 50 and 100 meters. He also won gold in the mixed medley relay.

Keita Sunama was third in 1:55.54, 0.43 behind Irie.

Suzuki defended her games title in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke in a games record of 30.83 seconds, while teammate Miho Teramura was second. It was Suzuki’s second gold, following her 100 breaststroke triumph.

Shioura was next into the pool and kept things rolling for Japan in the men’s 100 free by leading another 1-2 finish. Shioura, who won 4×100 freestyle gold on Wednesday, touched in 48.71, 0.01 ahead of teammate Katsumi Nakamura.

“My goal was to swim aggressively, and that’s why I think I swam a good race,” said Shioura, who won four silvers in Incheon. “The end was really hard, so I don’t have a clear memory of the finish.

“As an individual win, this is a completely different kind of joy from last night.”

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