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Asian Games: Japan's Takahashi strikes gold in women's triathlon

Japan's Yuko Takahashi wins gold in the women's triathlon competition at the Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia, on Aug. 31, 2018. (Kyodo)

PALEMBANG, Indonesia (Kyodo) -- Japan's Yuko Takahashi won gold in the women's triathlon competition at the Asian Games on Friday.

Takahashi seized the initiative in the swim and never relinquished the lead, crossing the finish line at JSC Lake Jakabaring in Palembang in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 29 seconds to earn Japan its third straight gold in the endurance race for women.

China's Zhong Mengying came home 1 minute and 47 seconds later for silver, and Long Hoi of Macau took bronze with a time of 2:01:28. Yuka Sato, the only other Japanese finalist, did not finish.

The 27-year-old Takahashi opened up a gap of more than three minutes on the chasing pack in the bike section and never looked back, saying she executed the ideal pacing strategy.

"I promised myself I would go aggressively," Takahashi said.

"The lead I built in the bike was bigger than I thought. In the run I just tried not to fall or let my guard down," she said.

The individual triathlon comprises a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

The men's triathlon will be held Saturday and the mixed relay on Sunday.

At the last two Asian Games, Japan completed a clean sweep of the triathlon gold and silver medals in the men's and women's races.

At the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Japan also captured gold in the mixed relay, an event that was not held at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

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