By Jack Tarrant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two-time Winter Olympic silver medallist Ayumu Hirano will take part in the Japan Open skateboard competition later this month, according to his management team.

Hirano, who lost to American Shaun White in the men’s halfpipe final in Pyeongchang last year, subsequently told Reuters he was eyeing skateboarding at Tokyo 2020.

White has also expressed an interest in taking part in the sport, which will be making its Olympic debut in 2020.

Hirano’s management company Kinoshita Group posted on their website that the 20-years-old is scheduled to take part in the March 16 competition.

Japan Skateboarding Federation, however, refused to confirm Hirano’s participation, saying that the official start list was yet to be finalised.

A good performance at the Japan Open by Hirano could be the first step into being included in Japan’s Olympic team.

There are only 20 spots available in each of the men and women’s park and street discipline for Tokyo 2020.

However, as hosts, Japan gets one berth automatically. The rest will be decided from the Skateboarding World Championships and the official world rankings.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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