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Momoka Muraoka’s five-medal Beijing dream dashed at final hurdle


Alpine sit-skier Momoka Muraoka missed out on winning her fifth medal of the Beijing Paralympics on Saturday when she finished fifth in the women’s slalom.

The 25-year-old Japanese was attempting to win five medals at consecutive Paralympic Games, but was unable to add to her haul of three gold and one silver won at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Center in Beijing’s mountainous north.

Muraoka could not replicate her dominant showings from the speed events in the technical tight turns of the slalom, which she acknowledged before the event is her least preferred discipline.

She completed her first run in the fifth-fastest time of 53.44 seconds and improved in her second to complete the course in 52.10, but her 1-minute, 45.54-second total time was not good enough to put her into medal contention.

Anna-Lena Forster of Germany defended her slalom title with a two-run time of 1:37.86 to finish ahead of Chinese pair Zhang Wenjing and Liu Sitong.

It was Forster’s second gold and fourth medal overall in Beijing, taking her career total to nine won across three games.

While Muraoka was unable to replicate the five medals she won at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018, she did make history by becoming the first Japanese Winter Paralympian to win four career gold medals while equaling the Japan record for the most golds won at a single games.

Fellow Japanese Yoshiko Tanaka finished the sitting slalom event ranked sixth and Norika Harada eighth. Neither woman won a medal in China.

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