Japan have claimed two spots on the London Olympic start line after a sweep of both the Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s podiums at the 2012 Tateyama ASTC Triathlon Asian Championships in Japan on Saturday.
In the Elite Women’s race, Mariko Adachi claimed gold with a stellar all round performance. She was part of a three woman group, alongside Korea’s Dan Bi Hong and A Reum Jo, who had a 30 second lead coming out of the swim. She then rode with the leaders on the bike, before posting the second fastest run leg of the day at 35 minutes and 28 seconds to claim the gold.
Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Yuka Sato won her first Asian Championships medal, her hard work on the leading pack in the bike helped her to silver. Ai Ueda ran herself into bronze with the quickest run leg of the day, the only sub-35 minute time of 34 minutes and 7 seconds. Three-time Olympian and 2011 champion Kiyomi Niwata finished in fourth.
In the Elite Men’s race, Yuichi Hosoda defended his 2011 title to claim the men’s London spot for Japan. In a thrilling finish, Hosoda was pushed to the line by Hirokatsu Tayama to only win by one second, while Ryosuke Yamamoto claimed bronze.
The three medallists were close throughout the whole race and it all came down to the run. While Yamamoto dropped off, it came down to Hosoda and Tayama who went toe to toe throughout the 10km run leg. In the final finishing straight, Hosoda just pushed ahead of Tayama to claim his second consecutive title in an electrifying sprint.
In ITU’s two-fold qualification process, where athletes work to secure points for their National Olympic Committee and then meet their National Federations qualification criteria to fill those spots, each of the five Continental Championships has an important role to play. Each of the 10 winners, elite men’s and women’s across the five continents, secure one place for their NOC in London. Therefore Adachi and Hosoda secure two places for Japan, but its now up to the Japanese Triathlon Union to decide how those places are filled.
The final two continental championships London places will be decided over the next two weeks, with the 2012 Eilat Triathlon ETU Championships to take place on April 22.
To see how athletes and countries qualify spots for London, click here for Qualification 101.
Photos: Satoshi Takasaki / ASTC
|Results: Elite Men|
|5.||Min Ho Heo||KOR||01:41:32|