Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Rising Star Hana Yoshida Impresses with Victory at Cup of China
Hana Yoshida led the way with a victory in the women's competition as Japan pocketed half of the singles medals up for grabs at the Cup of China in Chongqing on the weekend of November 10-12.
Yoshida, competing in just her second senior Grand Prix, vaulted from third place after the short program to take the gold with a strong free skate on Saturday, November 11.
The 18-year-old Yoshida edged compatriot Rinka Watanabe for the title by less than one point.
Yoshida's winning total score was 203.97 points, with Watanabe registering 203.22. Two-time world medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium, who led after the short program but struggled in her free skate, finished third with 201.49.
In the men's event, two-time world champion Shoma Uno picked up the silver after a fantastic performance by France's Adam Siao Him Fa in the free skate gave him the win. Uno was in first place after the short program with a lead of 14 points, but had jump issues in his free skate and slid to second.
Siao Him Fa's winning tally was 298.38, while Uno had 279.98. Kazakhstan's Mikhail Shaidorov was a revelation in placing third with 264.46.
Hana Yoshida in Contention for a GP Final Berth
Yoshida, a two-time medalist at the Japan Junior Championships, has been one of Japan's brightest young prospects for several years. She won both of her Junior Grand Prix events in the 2022-23 season to qualify for the JGP Final, where she was sixth.
Her win in China puts her in contention to gain a spot in the 2023-24 season's GP Final (December 7-10 in Beijing). After coming in fourth at Skate America (good for nine points), Yoshida now has a total of 24 points in the GP standings and will have to wait for the outcome of the final two GPs to see if she has made the cut.
Yoshida under-rotated her opening triple axel in her free skate to "Shakuhachi" and "La Terre Vue Du Ciel." But she landed six clean triples and earned level fours on her spins and step sequence in Chongqing.
"I'm really surprised that I won today," Yoshida stated before commenting, "I have lots of things to work on."
She added, "I want to be able to aim for higher points."
Yoshida said she didn't let the miscue on the triple axel sidetrack her performance.
"After my triple axel I was a little disappointed," Yoshida commented. "I wanted to land it clean, but after that, I was able to concentrate on the elements after and forget about the axel. That was good."
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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.