Japanese dailies celebrate super weekend in sport

Posted at 10/09/12 10:27 AM

TOKYO - Japan celebrated a super weekend in sport as two countrymen -- tennis star Kei Nishikori and Formula One driver Kamui Kobayashi -- made front-page headlines on Monday for their respective feats at home.

On Sunday Nishikori, 22, made history as the first home player to win the Japan Open while Kobayashi, 26, finished third-place at the grand prix held in Suzuka, only the third Japanese to take a podium spot.

"Here come heroes this autumn," the Sankei Shimbun said in a headline on its frontpage with two pictures of them side by side -- Nishikori hoisting a winner trophy and Kobayashi holding a champagne bottle on the podium.

"Two young Japanese athletes produced excellent results against the world," the daily said.

"Nishikori boldly achieves a feat at home," the Asahi Shimbun daily said.

The Nikkan Sports daily posted a picture of Kobayashi being splashed with champagne by Sebastian Vettel, who won the race, while Felipe Massa came second.

"Suzuka was in a frenzy," the Nikkan Sports daily said. "Today's hero was neither Vettel nor Massa, but Kobayashi for sure."

On Monday, some 10,000 fans held an event at the circuit to congratulate Kobayashi once more.

"I feel relieved after I was finally able to finish on the podium," said Kobayashi. "I don't feel like I actually did it, but I understand it was a big achievement."

Japanese sport fans, however, missed out on a third feat. Orfevre, the 2011 Japanese horse of the year, suffered a heartbreaking defeat in this year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday at Longchamp, placing second.

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