IFAF Asia-Oceania Women’s Flag Football Championship: Japan captures Gold

Japan won the first-ever IFAF Asia-Oceania Flag Football continental crown in a high-scoring women’s final as they defeated Australia 47-29 at the EV Arena Shah Alam in Malaysia.

Japan held a 27-point lead at the two-minute warning and although Australia mounted a late comeback with two touchdowns and a safety, the competition’s sole unbeaten team had the final say with a seventh touchdown.

The precision with which Japan’s offense executed plays was evident from the first drive when quarterback Chihiro Iwata hit Yurika Rokokawa in the corner of the end zone for the opening touchdown and a 7-0 lead after Moe Miyake tagged on the extra point.

The Aussies hit straight back through a touchdown from captain Riss Hayes but then Iwata hit Tomoyo Yagi in stride and her speed took her past a tackle attempt for a 14-6 lead. Japan was straight back on the offensive after its defense held and Iwata again fired a score to Rokukawa to open a 20-6 advantage. The methodical offense made it 26-6 at halftime through a Miake touchdown.

Photo: @UmarShafiz

Kodie Fuller got behind the Japanese defense to give the Aussies immediate hope after the break and Olivia Manfre reeled in the extra point to reduce the deficit to 13 points.

Rokukawa caught her third touchdown of the contest then an interception led to a wide-open Yuki Sato making a trip to the end zone and Japan were racing clear at 40-13.

Australia remained defiant as Hayes scored a touchdown, Manfre snagged a high point after pass and then having earned two points with a safety, Casey Cubis hit Hayes for her third touchdown and the extra point to pull to within 11 points.

Japan though were irrepressible and after an interception, Sato closed out the game with her second touchdown of the game.

Women’s Championship Game

Japan 47 Australia 29

Women’s Semifinals

Japan 42 New Zealand 14

Australia 35 Malaysia 7

Women’s Quarterfinals

Australia 36 Philippines 0

Thailand 20 New Zealand 53

Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is currently working with IFAF in a PR capacity. He recently covered Super Bowl LVII as a member of the NFL PR team as he has done for 20+ years. He has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North