22 January 2020

Japan shock Sweden to claim first ever Asian ice hockey title while Sweden's Maerta Rosenberg completes a full house of cross-country medals taking gold on penultimate day of Youth Winter Olympics

Japan's 6-team side stormed to a shocking victory in the women's ice hockey coming from behind to win 4-1 against defending champions Sweden and in the process becoming the first Asian side to ever win an Olympic ice hockey title.

Despite impressing in the preliminary rounds, the Japanese stepped onto the ice as underdogs and soon went a goal down as the two-time champions took command early on. 

Unperturbed, Japan rallied and shocked the Swedish team as they slotted home four goals and denied their opponents any chance of another gold as they outplayed them for the remainder of the game

“I’m so proud and so pleased that this is the outcome of our teamwork,” said Noro Rio, who was assisted by twin Riri in scoring Japan's second goal. “My team really wanted to win gold today.”

Elsewhere on the penultimate day, it was a fairytale ending for Sweden's cross-country queen Maerta Rosenberg, who finally claimed her golden crown. 

The 17-year-old had already taken a silver and a bronze earlier in the week, twice being beaten by Switzerland's Siri Wigger, who managed to claim silver in the 5km ahead of the USA's Kendall Kramer in third.

Rosenberg recovered remarkably from a fall on the final downhill of the 2.5km course to finish in 14 minutes, 15.7 seconds and then had a nervous wait to see if her time was beaten.

When no-one could top her time, the Swede could not believe her eyes. She said: "I was first. I was so tired at the end of the race I couldn’t believe it.

“Then all my coaches ran over and were screaming at me that I had won.

“Now I have three colours of medal – gold, silver and bronze. That’s a super-good combo,” she added.

For home hero Wigger, it was a downgrade from the gold she has become accustomed to but she was still pleased to add another medal to the tally.

She said: "It was my race to win, but second is OK. It’s been an amazing week.”

Other home hopes saw the mixed team of Anouk Doerig, Marie Karoline Krista, Valerio Jud and Robin Tissieres take top spot in the team ski-snowboard cross ahead of Russia in second and Germany in third.

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