Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Happy with NHK Trophy Win, Yuma Kagiyama Eager to Make GP Final Debut
Beijing Olympic gold medalist Yuma Kagiyama clinched a spot in December's Grand Prix Final with a narrow win over two-time world champion Shoma Uno at the NHK Trophy on Saturday, November 25 with an inspiring performance.
The 20-year-old Kagiyama will now be returning to the sight of his greatest moment, where 22 months ago he captured the silver medal behind American Nathan Chen at the 2022 Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital at the age of 18.
Kagiyama edged Uno by less than two points on Saturday and admitted that he had butterflies before taking the ice. He came through with flying colors, however, but fell on his second triple axel.
"I was the last to skate, so I was nervous, but I did everything I needed to do on the ice," Kagiyama stated. "Regarding the triple axel, it was a technical issue. So, I will go back to practice that and do better next time."
Kagiyama said he was generally pleased with his performance.
"The first half of the program went really well," Kagiyama noted. "I was very much into the music [and] I'm looking forward to the Grand Prix Final now."
Yuma Kagiyama Aims for Improvement
Kagiyama missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury. But time and the addition of former world champion Carolina Kostner to his coaching team have helped hasten his return to skating's elite ahead of the GP Final (December 7-10).
Kagiyama qualified for the 2021 GP Final in Osaka, only to see it canceled at the last minute during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This will be my first Grand Prix Final, so I still have many things to work on," Kagiyama commented about the upcoming trip to Beijing. "I will try to improve and focus on myself. As long as I show a good performance, the score will follow, so I will try not to make mistakes."
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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.