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[ICE TIME] Japan Favored for Multiple Medals at the Grand Prix Final

Following an impressive Grand Prix Final medal haul in December 2022 in Turin, Italy, Japanese skaters look poised for another banner showing.

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Grand Prix Final
Shoma Uno is the reigning Grand Prix Final men's champion. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Japan Favored for Multiple Medals at the Grand Prix Final

After a short break following the NHK Trophy, the elite of Japanese skating are on their way to Beijing this week to participate in the Grand Prix Final competitions (junior and senior) from Thursday through Sunday, December 7-10. 

The Hinomaru will have an impressive 10 singles skaters (six seniors, four juniors) participating in the prestigious event that features the top six finishers in each discipline during the 2023-24 Grand Prix season.

In December 2022, Japan came away from the Junior Grand Prix Final and Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, with a total of five singles medals, but could top that this time around.

Two-time world champions Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto lead the Japan team that also includes the 2022-23 season's world junior titlists Mao Shimada and Kao Miura.

The action is slated to get underway on Thursday, December 7 at the National Indoor Stadium in the Chinese capital.

Uno, who came in second at both of his GP competitions this season, will be going up against the likes of France's Adam Siao Him Fa, who won both his GPs, world bronze medalist Ilia Malinin of the United States, as well as teammates Yuma Kagiyama and Miura.

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The 25-year-old Uno is the defending champion in the event. But he will have to battle to retain his title this year after receiving multiple rotation calls on his jumps at the recent NHK Trophy in Osaka and considering the emergence of Siao Him Fa this season.


Yuma Kagiyama (KYODO)

Kagiyama Praises Kostner's Impact on His Skating

Kagiyama, who is coming off a powerful victory at the NHK Trophy, will be a strong contender for a medal as will Miura, who won the GP in Finland in November. The 20-year-old Kagiyama paid tribute to Carolina Kostner, who coaches him along with his father Masakazu, in an interview following his triumph in Kansai.

"I have learned intricate details of understanding music and the meanings behind choreographic movements from Carolina-san," Kagiyama told Sports Graphic Number's Yoshie Noguchi. "By giving meaning to each movement, a story emerges."

Kaori Sakamoto is the two-time defending women's world champion. (ISU/GETTY IMAGES/via KYODO)

Sakamoto Favored for First GP Final Crown

Sakamoto finished a disappointing fifth at the GP Final won by training partner Mai Mihara last season. However, she comes in as the favorite in 2023 in the wake of her victories at Skate Canada and GP Espoo. Joining Sakamoto in the field will be compatriots Hana Yoshida and Rion Sumiyoshi.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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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.

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