China claims 2 gold in short track speed skating in Sapporo

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) Japan claimed four gold medals in speed skating and China won two on the short track at the Asian Winter Games on Tuesday.

Nao Kodaira of Japan earned her second gold of the Sapporo Games by beating two-time Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea in the women's 500 on the long track.

Kodaira is unbeaten in six World Cups this season, and the winner of the 1,000 on Monday.

''I wasn't at my best today, maybe 80 percent of full fitness,'' Kodaira said. ''But I wanted to race against a strong sprinter and it was good preparation (for the 2018 Winter Olympics).''

Takuro Oda won the men's 1,000, and Miho Takagi the women's 1,500.

The Japanese team of Misaki Oshigiri, Nana Takagi, and Ayano Sato cruised to victory in the women's team pursuit. South Korea was second, and China third.

Wu Dajing, the silver medalist in the men's 1,500 meters on Monday, won gold in the 500, edging Seo Yi-ra of South Korea by .078 seconds. Park Se-yeong, also of South Korea, was third.

''The race was quite difficult,'' said Wu, a two-time world champion in the 500. ''The South Koreans gave us pressure over the final two laps and I almost lost my balance in the final lap.''

Zang Yize of China won the women's 500. Ayuko Ito of Japan was second, and Choi Min-jeong of South Korea third after her compatriot Shim Suk-hee got tangled up on the final lap with Fan Kexin of China and both were disqualified.

In cross-country skiing, Japan also won the women's 10-kilometer free through Yuki Kobayashi. Lee Chae-won of South Korea was second, 24.4 seconds back, and Yelena Kolomina of Kazakhstan was third.

Rinat Mukhim won Kazakhstan's first gold of the games by winning the men's 15-kilometer free, 4.5 seconds ahead of Naoto Baba of Japan. Akira Lenting, also of Japan, was third.

Elsewhere, the men's ski jumping event was cancelled to due to high winds.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.