Hosts Kazakhstan dominated the opening day of the Asian Winter Games yesterday, winning six gold medals to grab the lead in the medal table.
Olga Novikova provided a perfect start for the home team by taking the gold medal in the day’s opening event — the women’s sprint in ski orienteering.
“I still cannot believe I won the first gold of the Asian Games,” Novikova said. “It wasn’t easy at all to win today. I was a bit nervous from the start, making early mistakes. Luckily, later I managed to move up a gear and win.”
Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Sorokin won the men’s sprint in orienteering clocking 13 minutes, 31 seconds to finish ahead of compatriot Alexandr Babenko. Mongolia’s Gerelt-Od Bayaraa was third.
The hosts also swept the gold medals in freestyle skiing, winning both the men’s and women’s mogul disciplines.
Yulia Galysheva was the best in the women’s mogul with a solid performance to earn the best mark of 22.09 points. Miki Ito of Japan was second and China’s Ning Qin third.
Kazakhs Dmitriy Reiherd and Dmitriy Barmashov took first and third places in the men’s moguls, with Osamu Ueno of Japan grabbing the silver medal.
Kazakhstan cross-country skier Alexey Poltoranin won the men’s 1.6km sprint by just 0.1 seconds from compatriot Nikolay Chebotko. Yuichi Onda of Japan was third.
Dmitriy Koshkin boosted his team’s gold tally by winning the men’s downhill with compatriot Igor Zakurdayev second and Jung Dong-hyun of South Korea third.
South Korean alpine skier Kim Sun-joo won gold in the women’s downhill, clocking 1 minute, 37.61 seconds to beat Kazakhstan’s Lyudmila Fedotova by 0.26 seconds. Another local athlete, Xenia Stroilova, was third.