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Onitsuka wins second straight slopestyle World Cup

Kyodo

Miyabi Onitsuka claimed her second straight women’s slopestyle snowboard World Cup with a win in Kreischberg on Saturday, while Hiroaki Kunitake finished third in the men’s competition.

The 20-year-old Onitsuka, who won the season-opening event in China’s Secret Garden last month, scored 85.33 points in her final run to outgun home favorite Anna Gasser by a margin of 0.23. Norway’s Silje Norendal took a distant third with 67.81.

“I’m happy to win. This time I focused on the rails section more than the jumps,” said Onitsuka after landing a clean backside 360 off the flat bar, and putting down two 720s and a 900 on the jumps to pip Gasser. “I want to do my best at the world championships.”

Onitsuka beat the Austrian in Kreischberg four years ago to become the 2015 slopestyle world champion. The Japanese followed up with a bronze at the 2017 edition in Spain.

“I’m very happy to win here in Kreischberg again,” Onitsuka said, according to the International Ski Federation. “Anna is so good, and this is her home, so it was very difficult today. But I was able to put down a good run.”

Onitsuka extended her 2018-2019 season slopestyle lead over compatriot Reira Iwabuchi, who finished fifth Saturday, to 750 points. She leads the overall park and pipe World Cup standings with 4,400 to Iwabuchi’s 3,650. Gasser is third in both points races.

In the men’s event, 16-year-old Kunitake placed third with 83.86 and finished on a World Cup podium for the second time in his career. Norway’s Mons Roisland won the event with 88.75, with Chris Corning of the United States finishing second, four points behind.

“I messed up on the first and second runs, so I was lucky to clinch it on the third. I haven’t been on the podium in a while so I’m happy with the result,” Kunitake said.

Takeru Otsuka, the men’s top qualifier, missed the podium in fourth, while Ruki Tobita and Yuri Okubo finished fifth and seventh, respectively.

There are two more World Cup meets in January before the 2019 World Championships kick off on Feb. 1 at the Park City Mountain, Deer Valley and Solitude Mountain resorts, all in Utah.

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