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[ICE TIME] Kaori Sakamoto, Yuma Kagiyama Headline Grand Prix Series

In their first Grand Prix Series events of the season, Sakamoto is set to compete in Skate Canada in October and Kagiyama in November's NHK Trophy.

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Grand Prix Series
Kaori Sakamoto competes in the women's free skate at the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships on March 22 in Montreal, Canada. (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Kaori Sakamoto, Yuma Kagiyama Headline Grand Prix Series

The beginning of the 2024-25 skating season is officially underway following the release of the Grand Prix Series assignments by the International Skating Union on Sunday, June 9.

Once again, the campaign will feature new faces and see the absence of Russian skaters for a third consecutive season. It will also not include some familiar names like retired two-time world champion Shoma Uno

Finland will be the host of a GP in place of Russia in the 2024 season for the third year in a row.

Three-time world champion Kaori Sakamoto will start her season at Skate Canada (October 25-27) and continue it at the NHK Trophy (November 8-10). Sakamoto will be the favorite in each event she enters.

Hana Yoshida in a March 2024 file photo. (KYODO)

She will be joined in Halifax, Nova Scotia, by compatriots Hana Yoshida (the bronze medalist at the GP Final last season) and Rino Matsuike, in a lineup that will see the return of former world bronze medalist Alysa Liu of the United States to the GP series.

Sakamoto will battle with Mone Chiba in Tokyo, where 2023 world silver medalist Haein Lee of South Korea and Liu are also entered.

Two-time Japan champion Rika Kihira, who has missed much of the past three seasons due to an ankle injury, did not receive an assignment this time around. She could be added to the NHK Trophy if she can prove her fitness at early Challenger Series events or as a replacement in the event of an injury.

Grand Prix Series
Wakaba Higuchi is seen competing at the Grand Prix de France on November 3, 2023. (REUTERS/via KYODO)

Additional Info on Japan Women's Grand Prix Series Assignments

Despite producing poor results last season, Wakaba Higuchi received two assignments this fall. She will take the ice at Skate America (October 18-20) and the Grand Prix de France (November 1-3).

Rinka Watanabe and Yuna Aoki will also be in the lineup in Allen, Texas, as will Lee and world silver medalist Isabeau Levito of the US.

In Angers, France, Mai Mihara and Rion Sumiyoshi will also pull on the boots along with two-time world medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium and US champion Amber Glenn.

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.