Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Japan Sending a Young Team to Season-Opening Skate America
Six Japanese skaters will take the ice when the Grand Prix season kicks off on Friday, October 20 at Skate America in Allen, Texas. Mana Kawabe, Hana Yoshida and Mone Chiba will represent Japan in the women's competition. Shun Sato, Tatsuya Tsuboi and world junior bronze medalist Nozomu Yoshioka will skate for the Hinomaru in the men's event.
Of the six singles skaters, Tsuboi is the oldest at age 20. The others are 18 or 19.
Japan's female trio will be going up against two-time world medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium and United States national champion Isabeau Levito, who won the Challenger Series Nebelhorn Trophy in September, in Germany.
On the men's side, Japan will battle world bronze medalist and jumping sensation Ilia Malinin of the US, France's Kevin Aymoz, who was fourth at the world championships in the 2022-23 season, and Canada's Stephen Gogolev.
Once again Russian and Belarussian skaters will be absent as the ISU has continued its ban on them due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Hiwatashi Medals at Budapest Trophy
Japan did not have any skaters entered in the Challenger Series Budapest Trophy over the October 14-15 weekend. However, American Tomoki Hiwatashi, who trains in Kyoto with Mie Hamada, took home the bronze medal there.
The 23-year-old posted a total score of 223.79 points to make the podium behind Italy's Nikolaj Memola (250.37) and Switzerland's Lukas Britschgi (246.12).
Hiwatashi rallied from seventh place after the short program to get the bronze with a strong free skate to "Finlandia." He landed a clean quadruple toe loop and six triple jumps while earning level fours on two of his spins.
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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.