Japanese skateboarders win men's, women's titles

Japanese skateboarders have won the men's and women's titles at the Street Skateboarding World Championships in Rome.

Horigome Yuto won the men's division and Nishimura Aori topped the women's section on Sunday. Both have effectively secured places in the Tokyo Olympics, where skateboarding will make its debut.

Street skateboarding involves performing tricks in urban environments, such as stairs. The Rome event was the last qualifier for the Tokyo Games.

In Sunday's finals, skateboarders vied in the 45-second "run" stage and big techniques in the "best-trick" stage.

In the men's division, 22-year-old Horigome, ranked second in the world, made mistakes in his runs.
But he successfully performed a series of best tricks to win overall with 36.75 points.

Horigome beat the world No.1 Nyjah Huston of the United States. Huston, the winner of two consecutive world championships, finished second.

Another Japanese skateboarder, Shirai Sora, ranked fourth in the world, came third, also securing a spot for the Tokyo Games.

Aoki Yukito of Japan failed to make it to the finals, but is certain to qualify for Tokyo on the basis of his world ranking.

In the women's division, 19-year-old Nishimura, ranked No.3 in the world, clinched first place with 14.73 points with successful best-trick attempts. It was her second world title.

She was followed by 13-year-old Nishiya Momiji of Japan in second place. Brazilian Rayssa Leal came third. Another Japanese skateboarder, 15-year-old Nakayama Funa, finished sixth. Nishiya and Nakayama also secured Olympic berths.

The members of Japan's Olympic skateboarding team will be officially decided after the announcement of the latest world rankings on June 30.

Nishimura said she was filled with joy. She said she rebooted her mind after patchy runs and her tricks went the way she wanted them to.

Nishimura also said she is looking forward to the Olympics even though the coronavirus has yet to be contained. She pledged to do her best to keep improving until the Games.