Kajihara claims omnium world gold five months before Olympics

148

Berlin

Japan’s Yumi Kajihara claimed a dramatic victory in the women’s omnium at the track cycling world championships in Berlin on Friday to take gold, just five months before the Tokyo Olympics.
The 22-year-old, who also won the omnium Asian Games title in 2018 in Jakarta, did enough in the points race to hold off Italian Letizia Paternoster.
Kajihara finished with 121 points overall, winning by 12 points, despite suffering a fall during the elimination race.
She led from the start after winning the opening scratch race, which saw Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny crash out of contention. The 27-year-old Kenny, wife of six-time Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny, reportedly needed stitches around her right eye after being hit by two riders.
Reigning world omnium champion Kirsten Wild, who won scratch gold just two days before, was relegated to last place, from second, for causing the crash.
Kajihara strengthened her lead by finishing second in the tempo race, before recovering despite falling during the elimination race to take third, securing an overall lead to take into the closing points race.
She saw off the challenge of Paternoster, while Poland’s Daria Pikulik enjoyed a strong final event to snatch bronze from Portuguese rider Maria Martins. Italian Filippo Ganna beat his own men’s individual pursuit world record with a time of four minutes and 1.934 seconds before clinching his fourth world title in the event.
The 23-year-old, who rides on the road for Team Ineos, was close to breaking the symbolic four-minute mark in his qualifying run.—APP