Japanese snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo won the men's half-pipe event at the 24th Harbin Winter Universiade on Wednesday.
Kazuhiro, runner-up in 2007 world championship, opened with a soaring grab and a back-to-back trick that involves making three full rotations in the air for 41.9 points. That put him second at the close of the first round, with Kim Ho-jun of South Korea on top of the 12 finalists with 43.8 points.
Feeling the pressure, the Japanese dropped into the pipe with a huge run that earned him 46.0 points, enough to seize the gold after his Korean opponent made a big mistake in the second round.
Zeng Xiaoye, the host's favorite who ranked first after Tuesday's two-round heats, failed to bounce back from a lackluster first show earning just 27.8 points, finishing only third with 39.4 points after the second try.
The other two Chinese finalists Shi Wancheng and Xu Dechao ranked eighth and 12th respectively with 35.7 and 21.2 points.
The six-day snowboard competitions at Universiade will collude on Friday with men's big air, with medals already distributed for half-pipe and other two disciplines boardercross and parallel giant slalom.
(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2009)