Japan swept the gold in both the men’s and women’s events last Saturday at the 2016 Hatsukaichi ASTC Triathlon Asian Championships. The two wins were huge for the Japanese Federation as each gold secured the National Federation an automatic qualifying spot on the Olympic roster for the Rio Games this summer.
The women started the elite schedule on Saturday and it was Team Japan that swept the podium. Ai Ueda captured the gold medal and her right to be named a back-to-back ASTC Asian Champion. Her gold also secured an automatic Olympic spot for the Japanese Triathlon Union for Rio de Janeiro this August. Joining Ueda on the podium was her compatriots Yurie Kato who was the silver medallist and Yuka Sato who finished the day as the bronze medallist.
Later in the day it was the men’s turn. Once again it was the Japanese that found themselves gracing the top of the elite podium. Returning back to his place on the top of the ASTC Asian Champ podium for the first time since 2006 was Hirokatsu Tayama. His win also guaranteed the Japanese Triathlon Union that they have an automatic spot on the Olympic roster for Rio this summer.
Second place in the men’s field was China’s Faquan Bai, who was able to get onto his first Asian Championship podium. Finishing off the medals was Ji Hwan Kim (KOR), who also was gracing the Asian Championships podium for the first time in his career.