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Japan wins Paralympic gold
Publication Date : 09-03-2014
Japan celebrated a medal rush on the first day of the Sochi Paralympics on Saturday, with Akira Kano winning the men’s sitting downhill and Takeshi Suzuki finishing third as Kozo Kubo took the bronze in the men’s 7.5-kilometer sitting biathlon.
It was the second Paralympic success for Kano—the 27-year-old Hokkaido native won gold in the sitting super giant slalom and bronze in the sitting downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics.
Suzuki, 25, also won bronze in the sitting giant slalom at Vancouver. Suzuki is from Inawashiro, Fukushima Prefecture, and now resides in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture.
Kano’s lower body became impaired after he was hit by a car when he was a third-year-student in primary school. He took up seated skiing after watching the event at the 1998 Nagano Paralympics.
Suzuki lost both legs after being involved in a car accident when he was a second-year primary school student. Sochi is his third Paralympic Games, after he participated in the Vancouver Games and 2006 Turin Games.
Kubo earned Japan’s first medal at the Sochi Paralympics. The 32-year-old from Bihoro, Hokkaido, won the biathlon medal in his second Paralympic attempt. He finished sixth in the 12.5-kilometer race in the Vancouver Paralympics.
Kubo became unable to walk after a car accident when he was a third-year-student in high school.
Kubo, who played baseball in high school, initially sought a Paralympic berth in the wheelchair marathon event. However, after failing to be chosen for the Japan squad at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, he switched to skiing. He won the overall World Cup title in the 2012-13 season.