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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
- Mai Mihara Victorious in Grand Prix Final as Kaori Sakamoto Staggers to Fifth-Place Finish
- Shoma Uno Wins Gold and Sota Yamamoto Claims Silver at the Grand Prix Final
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.