Asian Games: Runner-up Japan optimistic about winning 30 golds in Olympics
Gemma Holliani Cahya
The Jakarta Post
By the last day of the 2018 Asian Games, Japan had brought home 75 gold medals among a total of 205 medals. It came second after China, which won 132 golds among the 289 medals that it won.
On Sunday morning, Japan wrapped up the Asiad with a sweet end, after the team of Yuka Sato, Jumpei Furuya, Yuko Takahashi and Yuichi Hosoda won the final gold in the mixed triathlon relay in Palembang, South Sumatra, in the last competition of the event.
“This time we achieved 75 gold medals in a total number of 205 medals. This is far better than what we expected prior to the Games. […] I especially would praise our swimming team, which give us nine gold medals. They gave us the flying start and put on their best performance,” Japan's chef de mission, Yasuhiro Yamashita, told the media on Sunday.
Japan’s swimmer Ikee Rikako has also been named as the 2018 Asian Games Most Valuable Player (MVP), winning six medals in the quadrennial event. She is also the first women ever to win such a title in the tournament.
Although the achievement was encouraging, Yamashita said he hoped his team “will not be too confident as perhaps one of the worst enemies is being too confident”, and asked them to never stop making better efforts for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as they aim to win 30 gold medals.
Yamashita said he was satisfied with the results as Japan won gold medals in several sports that will be competed in the Olympics, such as skateboarding, climbing, karate and softball.
“Achieving 75 gold medals in the Asian Games is not the same as achieving 30 gold medals in Tokyo. I know some in the media are describing this as an unrealistic goal to achieve. But this is not only an unrealistic target, we have carefully analyzed each athlete's performance. This is a very tough target but if every athlete does their best, we can definitely reach these goals,” he said.
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