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Japan’s alpine skiers win first medals for Asian nations at Pyeongchang 2018 on day one

By : APC Media
Date : March 11, 2018

On day one of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, it was the Japanese skiers who were the first athletes from Asia to win medals at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, picking up two silvers in the Downhill event.

First up was Momoka Muraoka in the Women’s Downhill Sitting event. Taking the silver medal behind the legendary German Anna Schaffelhuber (who won every available medal in the women’s sitting alpine skiing events in Sochi) she realised part of her ambition to win a medal at a Paralympic Games, the next part is to win a medal in para athletics at Tokyp 2020. Para athletics was her first sport, she only took up skiing in 2011. In her biography she names Japanese para alpine skier Taiki Morii as her hero and it was Morii who won the second medal for Japan by taking Silver in the Men’s Downhill Sitting.

The 37-year old Morii has competed at every Paralympic Games since 2002 winning three silvers and a bronze in total. With more events still to come, he’ll be hoping to add to his tally further.

Away from the snow, host nation Korea beat Japan 4-1 in their opening round robin match of Para Ice Hockey at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. It was all equal after the first period with both teams failing to score. The Korean’s pulled one goal ahead after the second period and continued their dominance in a thrilling third period where they went 4-0 up before Japan pulled a consolation goal back with less than three minutes on the clock.

At the Gangneung Curling Centre, host nation Korea were also victorious in their first round robin match against the USA. A decisive fifth end where they took 4, ensured their victory which they won convincingly 7-3. They later took to the ice again for their second round robin match against the Neutral Paralympic Athlete team who had been comprehensively defeated by Germany 9-4 in their earlier match. This was a tough match with both teams level at 5-5 after 8 ends, meaning a decisive extra 9th end needed to be played. The NPA team had the hammer but Korea managed to steal one point to win the match 6-5.

Meanwhile China kicked off their quest for a curling medal with a first round match against Sweden. Hoping to get amongst the medals in Pyeongchang after their fourth placed finish in Sochi, the Chinese team got off to a strong start, winning the first two ends to take a 4-0 lead. The Swedes settled and the match went with the hammer with each team taking a point before the Chinese exerted their dominance in end 6, taking another 4 points. Despite taking two points in the penultimate end, Sweden conceded before the final end, giving China a comprehensive 9-4 victory.

Highlights for Asian teams on day 2 (March 11th) include more medals up for grabs in Alpine Skiing, with both Muraoka and Morii competing again alongside many other Asian athletes in the Super G events. Cross Country Skiing starts and the two athletes from the DPRK will compete in the men’s 15km Sitting. These athletes were offered bi-partite slots following the World Cup in Germany in January, their attendance at this event was supported by the APC.

In Wheelchair Curling, China will face current World Champions Norway, followed by a match against Germany. Korea will face Slovakia.

In Para Ice Hockey, Japan will face the current Paralympic champions USA whilst host nation Korea will meet the Czech Republic.

To watch all the action visit Paralympic.org

Photo credit: OIS

Photo credit: OISPhoto Credit: OIS