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Olympics: Snowboaders Hirano, Takeuchi among 12 athletes headed to Pyeongchang

The snowboarders chosen to represent Japan at the Pyeongchang Olympics, from right, Tomoka Takeuchi (ladies' parallel giant slalom), Haruna Matsumoto (ladies' halfpipe), Miyabi Onitsuka (ladies' slopestyle and big air), Ayumu Hirano (men's halfpipe), Kurumi Imai, Sena Tomita (ladies' halfpipe) and Yuka Fujimori (ladies' slopestyle and big air) pose in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward on Dec. 22, 2017. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Ski Association of Japan announced Friday that Sochi snowboarding silver medalists Ayumu Hirano and Tomoka Takeuchi, as well as 10 other athletes, will compete in February's Pyeongchang Olympics.

    Hirano, who has won two World Cup events this season, will compete in the men's halfpipe.

    "I'll try my best to snowboard like I always do at the Olympics," Hirano said. "Last time it was silver, so now there's only one goal."

    The 34-year-old Takeuchi will participate in her fifth straight Winter Olympics when she competes in the women's parallel giant slalom.

    "I want to do my best at Pyeongchang to redeem myself for Sochi four years ago," Takeuchi said.

    In freestyle skiing, Sochi bronze medalist Ayana Onozuka will compete in the women's halfpipe, and Naoya Tabara in the men's aerials competition.

    The association also announced the Japanese athletes to compete in cross country skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding at the Feb. 9-25 Pyeongchang Games. Athletes competing in other events, including ski jumping and Nordic combined, have yet to be announced.

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