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Asian Games: Noguchi wins sport climbing gold in test ahead of Tokyo 2020

Japanese sport climber Akiyo Noguchi competes during the women's sport climbing combined event at the Asian Games in Palembang on Aug. 26, 2018. (Kyodo)

PALEMBANG, Indonesia (Kyodo) -- Japan's veteran climber Akiyo Noguchi won the women's sport climbing combined event on Sunday, giving her a confidence boost ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when the sport makes its debut.

    The 29-year-old Noguchi scored 12 points in the event -- which includes a speed, bouldering and a lead phase, with the climber with the least points winning the competition.

    Sa Sol of South Korea also had 12 points but settled for silver after Noguchi delivered better results in two of the three disciplines. South Korea's Kim Ja In took bronze. Noguchi's countrywoman Futaba Ito was fourth.

    "I didn't do well in the qualifiers, and I started in the bottom of the field after the first discipline so I was really stretched," Noguchi said. "I struggled both mentally and physically and it was a really tight competition. So I'm really glad I won today."

    Noguchi opened her campaign at Jakabaring Sport City in Palembang by placing bottom of the six-woman final in the speed discipline.

    But she made up for it by topping the field in bouldering, her strongest discipline. She was the only one who completed all four problems, while Ito settled for second after she was not able to finish the final problem.

    "My strong discipline helped me until the very end. I won because I was able to complete the final problem," she said. "Since I finished first in bouldering, I knew that I need to keep it going and finish in the top-two."

    As she said, Noguchi followed up with a runner-up finish in the lead climbing.

    Total scores of each climber are determined by multiplying their ranking in each phase.

    Later in the day, Japan's Tomoa Narasaki and Kokoro Fujii will compete in the men's event.

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