Eri Yanetani gave hosts Japan an ideal start to the 2017 Asian Winter Games as the snowboarder triumphed in the opening event here today.
The men’s and women’s giant slalom competitions were taking place prior to the Games’ Opening Ceremony due to held at the Sapporo Dome later today.
Yanetani raised hopes that Japan would get their medal tally up and running before the official starting point as she recorded the fastest opening run of the competition at the Sapporo Teine.
She backed-up the display by achieving a time of 47.80sec in her next effort, giving the local favourite an overall time of 1min 43.47sec.
It proved enough to hold off Chinese opposition, with Zang Ruxin and Gong Naiying pushing her close.
The duo completed the podium positions in the event, clocking times of 1:45.70 and 1:45.81 respectively.
Yanetani’s victory put Japan top of the eary medals table but it would only prove temporary as South Korea claimed gold and silver in the men’s competition.
It had looked like South Korea would sweep the medals after having the fastest four athletes in the opening run.
While two of their snowboarders slid down the standings in the second run, their other competitors stayed strong.
The first was Lee Sang-ho, who took the gold medal for the event, finishing in 1:35.76.
His team-mate Choi Bo-gun finished 0.68 seconds behind to claim the silver medal.
Japan’s Shinnosuke Kamino finished third in 1:37.14.
His first run had only been the sixth quickest but the home athlete posted the fastest time in the second time down the course.
South Korea’s Ji Myung-kon dropped out of the medals as a result, ending in 1:37.51.
The medal winners were presented with their honours during the Opening Ceremony.