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Japan and Kazakhstan share honours in dual moguls

24 Feb 2017
Sapporo, Japan, February 24, 2017: Japan’s Ikuma Horishima pulled off an upset win in the men’s dual moguls to deny Kazakhstan a golden double on the opening day of the freestyle skiing events at the 8th Asian Winter Games. As expected, Kazakhstan won the gold medal in the women’s event when the supremely talented Yuliya Galysheva successfully defended the first of two titles she won at Astana-Almaty in 2011 but there was a surprise in the men’s competition at the Sapporo Bankei Ski Area.

A powerhouse in mogul skiing, where competitors race down a steep, bumpy hill and are given judged scores on their turns, jumps and speed, Kazakhstan were the heavy favourites to win both dual events. Dmitriy Barmashov had won the event on home snow last time while his teammate Dmitriy Reihard won the individual title six years ago and was the top-ranked entrant in Sapporo but neither made it to the final, which was watched by an enthusiastic crowd.

Drawn against each other in the quarter-finals, Reihard beat Barmashov to advance to the semi-finals but lost 13-12 to Horishima. Reihard did earn a bronze medal when he beat Korea’s Seo Myung-joon in the small final while Horishima won the gold when he defeated his countryman Daichi Hara 16-9 in the final, with the pair high-fiving each other after Japan finished one-two.

“It was a pretty close race,” said Horishima. “I made one small mistake and my landing was not perfect but I raced to my fullest. “I was very nervous but my coach just told me to stay aggressive so I’m very happy to come away with the gold.” Galysheva won her third Asian Winter Games gold medal in style after winning both the dual and individual events at the last Games.

One of the best women mogul skiers in the world, she finished seventh at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and won a bronze medal at the 2015 world championships. The 24-year-old is also entered in the individual moguls event in Sapporo and is preparing herself for next month’s world titles at the Sierra Nevada ski resort in southern Spain then next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Racing in brilliant sunshine against a perfect blue sky, Galysheva cruised into the final where she beat Japan’s Arisa Murata 15-10 on points. Murata won the silver medal and was joined on the podium by her Japanese team mate Miki Ito, who collected her third Asian Winter Games medal winning bronze and silver in Almaty four years ago.
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