South Korea's Choi leads short program at Asian Winter Games

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) Choi Da-bin won the women's short program in figure skating at the Asian Winter Games on Thursday.

The South Korean, fifth at last week's Four Continents, opened with a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination and added a triple flip and double axel for 61.30 points. Rika Hongo of Japan was second with 60.98 points, followed by Zhao Ziquan of China with 58.90.

Choi was a last-minute injury replacement for Park So-youn, who withdrew with an ankle injury. Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, the junior national champion, withdrew because of the flu.

In ice dance, Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu of China led after the short dance with 66.02 points. Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed of Japan were second with 64.74, followed by Chen Hong and Zhao Yen of China with 59.02.

The women's short program featured entries from nontraditional figure skating countries including Zahra Lari from the United Arab Emirates and Tasya Putri from Indonesia.

In other events, Miho Takagi of Japan won her third gold medal in speedskating by winning the women's mass start.

Takagi, who also won gold in the 3,000 and 1,500 races and silver in the 1,000, maintained an early lead and won in 8 minutes, 21.81 seconds.

Teammate Ayano Sato finished 0.07 seconds back for silver. Kim Bo-reum of South Korea took third, crossing in 8:47.46.

In the men's mass start, Lee Seung-hoon of South Korea won in 8:12.72, edging Shane Williamson of Japan, who was second in 8:13.25. Kim Min-seok of South Korea won the bronze in 8:13.69.

Kim also won gold in the 1,500 meters in 1:46.26. Takuro Oda of Japan was second in 1:46.76 and Taro Kondo, also of Japan, took the bronze in 1:47.88.

Yuki Kobayashi of Japan won her second cross-country skiing gold medal, winning the women's 5-kilometer classical.

Kobayashi added to the 10-kilometer free title she won on Tuesday, finishing in 14:56.1. Yelena Kolomina of Kazakhstan took the silver in 15:02.8 and Li Hongxue of China won the bronze in 15:18.6.

Akira Lenting of Japan won in the men's 10-kilometer classical. Lenting, whose mother is Japanese and father is from New Zealand, won in 25:15.6 to finish more than 16 seconds ahead of Magnus Kim of South Korea. Kim timed 25:32.5 to take the silver and the bronze went to Kohei Shimizu of Japan, who timed 25:39.0.

In the men's biathlon 10-kilometer sprint, Yan Savitskiy led Kazakhstan to a 1-2 finish.

Savitskiy clocked 26:59.2 while Vassiliy Podkorytov was second in 27:14.2. Mikito Tachizaki of Japan won the bronze medal in 27:19.4.

Galina Vishneskaya of Kazakhstan won the women's biathlon in 20:32.6. Zhang Yan of China took silver in 20:56.8 and Alina Raikova of Kazakhstan won bronze in 21:23.2.

In the women's giant slalom, Emi Hasegawa of Japan won the gold medal. Japanese skiers took the top three spots, but competition regulations meant third-place Mio Arai was denied the bronze.

Hasegawa topped both runs to win the gold with a total time of 2:21.58. Asa Ando took the silver in 2:23.45 and Arai clocked 2:25.49.

The bronze went to Kang Young-seo of South Korea, who was fourth.

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