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Japan tops Asian Skyrunning Championships

Taiga Yamamoto, Japanese team, Asian Champs. ©Sho Fujimaki
Taiga Yamamoto, Japanese team, Asian Champs. ©Sho Fujimaki

The 2016 Asian Skyrunning Championships took place on the 2nd and 4th of December, in Hong Kong on Lantau Island, covering the Vertical Kilometer®, Sky and Ultra categories.

With a record eleven Asian nations participating, Japan came out tops with five gold medals followed by Nepal, one gold and new-entry South Korea with a silver and China with two bronze.

MSIG Lantau Vertical Kilometer

The weekend’s events kicked off on Friday with the MSIG Lantau Vertical Kilometer which started on the sea shore and climbed to the summit of Lantau Peak for 5 km to 934m altitude. Both the men’s and women’s categories were won by Japanese athletes, Toru Miahara, in 38’17”and Yuri Yoshizumi in 45’59”. Yoshizumi not only smashed the previous record by an incredible 2’33” set by Nepal’s Mira Rai in 2014, but she placed 12th overall – a new star in the making.

Yuri Yoshizumi, VK Asian Champs gold medallist. © Sho Fujimaki
Yuri Yoshizumi, VK Asian Champs gold medallist. ©Sho Fujimaki

I am so excited to be the first Asian winning the race.” Commented Yoshizumi. “With the great number of steps this course is challenging and demands extreme physical fitness. It’s my first time in Hong Kong and I enjoyed the race a lot.”

In the men’s field, Japan’s Miyahara took the gold, Hayato Yanagisawa the silver and South Korean Byeong Gwon Park, the bronze. For the women: Japan’s Yuri Yoshizumi took the gold, Nepal’s Sunmaya Budha, the silver and South Korea’s Myungyeo Park, the bronze.

Full race results

MSIG Lantau Skyrace

Again, Japan reigned supreme in the 27 km Skyrace course boasting a 2,000m vertical climb with Dai Matsumoto taking the men’s win and the gold medal in 3h1’23”. Second place and a silver medal went to South Korean Jinwan Kim and third Asian, Yoshihara Minoru, 4th, took the bronze.

Asian Champs Sky champions - gold, Takamura Takako (Japan), silver, Sooji Park (South Korea) , bronze Yin Hung Tsang (China).
Asian Champs Sky champions – silver, Sooji Park (South Korea), gold, Takamura Takako (Japan), bronze, Yin Hung Tsang (China). ©Action Asia

The gold, silver and bronze medals in the women’s field went to: Takamura Takako (Japan), Sooji Park (South Korea) and Yin Hung Tsang (China) respectively, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions in the race.

Full race results

MSIG Lantau 50

The 50 km Ultra SkyMarathon® was the third and final of the 2016 Skyrunning Asian Championships events and presented a world-class line-up. The race winners, both from France, were Nicolas Martin (runner-up Skyrunner® World Series Ultra champion) and Caroline Chaverot (Skyrunning World Champion and UTMB winner). Martin closed in 5h41’51” and Chaverot in 6h27’09”.

Japan yet again topped the Asian Championship rankings with a 7th place to secure the gold for Yuichi Miura, the silver for Machida Tomohiro, both from Japan, and the bronze, for Heesenong Noh from South Korea in 9th.

Asian Champs Ultra champions: silver Machida Tomohiro (Japan), gold Yuichi Miura (Japan), bronze, Heesenong Noh (South Korea). ©Action Asia
Asian Champs Ultra champions: silver Machida Tomohiro (Japan), gold Yuichi Miura (Japan), bronze, Heesenong Noh (South Korea). ©Action Asia

Nepal took the gold and the silver in the women’s field with Sunmaya Budha placing an excellent 2nd and Purna Laxmi Neupani, 4th. The bronze went to Hyeonju Ji from South Korea who placed 6th.

Chaverot, on her first trip to Asia, remarked, “There are many good runners in Asia, I am amazed how trail running is so popular here. I did an Asian Skyrunning Championship VK race two days ago and it’s great for me to take part in the race and see people from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. I heard that trail is getting more popular in China and I am looking forward to compete against more Asian people in the future”.

Full race results

Full medal count