[ICE TIME] Mao Shimada Claims Japan Junior High School Championships Title
Shimada outscores Ikura Kushida and Ami Nakai in Nagano to add the Japan Junior High School Championships crown to her glistening collection.
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Teen sensation Mao Shimada added another medal to her ever-growing trophy case when she won the Japan Junior High School Championships at Big Hat Arena in Nagano on Tuesday afternoon, February 7.
The event is Shimada's last before next month's world junior championships in Calgary, Canada, where she will be a strong favorite for the gold medal.
Shimada won the Japan Junior Championships in November and the Junior Grand Prix Final in December. The only competition she has not won this season is the Japan Championships, where she placed third behind world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Grand Prix Final titlist Mai Mihara.
Despite falling twice in her free skate to "Passpied" and "Wild Swans Suite," the 14-year-old posted a winning total score of 197.06. She went down on a quadruple toe loop and the back end of a triple salchow/triple toe loop combination jump. Shimada did land seven clean triple jumps and earned level fours on two of her spins on the way to victory.
Mao Shimada's training partner, Ikura Kushida, came in second with 185.68. Ami Nakai took third on 184.31.
Seigo Tauchi captured the men's crown with 190.04. The 14-year-old from Aichi Prefecture was third after the short program, but moved to the top of the podium with a strong free skate that saw him hit five clean triples.
Sena Takahashi finished second at 187.09, while Taiga Nishino, who led after the short program, came in third on 185.51.
Japan Looks to Continue Medal Rush at Four Continents
Japan has sent a strong team to the Four Continents Championships this week in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The competition will begin on Thursday, February 9 with the women's and men's short programs.
Shun Sato, Kao Miura and Koshiro Shimada will represent the Hinomaru in the men's event, while Rinka Watanabe, Hana Yoshida and Mone Chiba will put on the boots for the women's battle.
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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 Twitter @sportsjapan.
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