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Ahead of Grand Prix Final, Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama Strong in Practice

A day before the Grand Prix Final starts, two-time defending men's world champ Uno and Beijing Olympic silver medalist Kagiyama land their jumps at practice.



Grand Prix Final
Yuma Kagiyama gets ready for the Grand Prix Final at the official practice in Beijing on December 6, 2023. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Ahead of Grand Prix Final, Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama Strong in Practice

Japan's 10 skaters took to the ice for the official practice on Wednesday, December 6 in Beijing, before the start of the Grand Prix Final on Thursday at the National Indoor Stadium. 

The Hinomaru's four singles world champions from the 2022-23 season, Shoma Uno, Kaori Sakamoto, Mao Shimada, and Kao Miura, are all in the Chinese capital to compete.

Action will get underway with the junior men's short program on Thursday afternoon. That will be followed by the junior women, senior pairs, senior men, and junior pairs.

Nakata Aiming for Victory at Grand Prix Final

The junior men took the ice for training first on Wednesday morning, December 6. Rio Nakata, Japan's lone representative in the discipline, had a smooth run-through in his short program to "God Particle" and "160Bpm."

"Of course, my goal is to win the final, but I just have to believe in myself," the 15-year-old Nakata was quoted as saying. "Even if I fail, I have done my best."

Grand Prix Final
Mao Shimada (KYODO)

Shimada Struggles with Jumps

In the women's competition, world junior champion Shimada, who won the JGP Final in 2022, worked on her free skate to "Americano" and "Composition." She under-rotated her triple axel, fell on her quadruple toe loop, and hit the ice on a triple flip as the music played.

"It is a different rink than usual, so I had a little trouble getting used to it, but as I continued to do it, I got used to it, and halfway through I think my jumps were back to normal," Shimada commented.

Added Shimada, "Triple axels are becoming easier to jump than quadruples without issues. My quad toe loop is still not stable, but I think it is more stable than it was at the Japan Junior Championships."

Ami Nakai went through her paces to her short program of "Baby, God Bless You" but did not land her triple flip cleanly.

Rena Uezono, the youngest of Japan's competitors at 13, went through her free skate to "Pray" and "Mechanisms" and started strongly, before not cleanly landing her triple flip and falling on a double axel in the second half of her routine.

Grand Prix Final
Shoma Uno works on his short program in Beijing on December 6. (KYODO)

Uno Enjoys Fine Training Session

Two-time world champion Uno, who will be defending his title from December 2022, practiced his short program to "I Love You Kung Fu" and "Clair de Lune" and landed all of his jumps smoothly. He seemed perplexed by his skating on this day.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.


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