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Asian Games: Japan dominates in inaugural skateboard competition

Japan's Sakura Yosozumi competes in the women's skateboard park final at the 18th Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia, on Aug. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Japan's Kensuke Sasaoka competes in the men's skateboard park final at the 18th Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia, on Aug. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

PALEMBANG, Indonesia (Kyodo) -- Japanese athletes won three of four gold medals on offer and dominated the inaugural skateboarding competition at the Asian Games on Wednesday, roughly two years before the sport makes its debut at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Teenagers Sakura Yosozumi and Kensuke Sasaoka captured the first two gold in the skateboard park competition, while Keyaki Ike won the men's street final to add a third. Kaya Isa won two silvers in the two events she competed in.

In the women's park final, 16-year-old Yosozumi earned 66.66 points to top the podium at Jakabaring Sport City in Palembang, Indonesia, while Isa finished runner-up with 58.33 points to complete a 1-2 finish for Japan. China's Zhang Xin took bronze.

"I didn't feel pressured. I just wanted to show everyone the way I ride," Yosozumi said. "This has been a great experience ahead of the Tokyo Olympics."

In the men's skateboard park, 19-year-old Sasaoka scored 76.00 in the second of his three runs to secure gold, with two Indonesians, Jason Dennis Lijnzaat and Pevi Permana Putra, following in second and third, respectively.

"I'm really glad. I saw I was first after my second run, so I was able to go into my third run with ease. I was able to pull off all of my tricks," Sasaoka said.

In the men's street final, Ike came from behind to win a close eight-man contest. Local favorite Sanggoe Darma Tanjung settled for silver only 0.6 point behind, while South Korea's Eun Ju Won took bronze.

Isa claimed her second silver of the day in the women's street event, won by Margielyn Didal of the Philippines. The final also saw 12-year-old Bunga Nyimas of Indonesia win bronze.

Didal executed in all her five attempts in the tricks category and finished with a total score of 30.4, 5.4 points ahead of Isa, denying Japan a clean sweep of skateboarding gold medals.

The two disciplines staged in the skateboarding program at the Asian Games -- park and street -- will also be held at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In the park competition, athletes skate on a hollowed-out course called a "combination pool" containing bowls and pools. In the street competition, skateboarders compete on a street-like course featuring stairs, curbs, slopes and rails.

The scores are based on the degree of difficulty, consistency in completing tricks, overall routine, speed and originality.

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