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Mao Shimada Catches Up to Arakawa and Ando with 3rd Japan Junior Crown

The top scorer on the Junior Grand Prix circuit this season, Mao Shimada rises to the occasion in the free skate after a disappointing short program.



Mao Shimada
Mao Shimada dazzles in the women's free skate en route to victory at the Japan Junior Championships in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, on November 19, 2023. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Mao Shimada Catches Up to Arakawa and Ando with 3rd Straight Japan Junior Crown

World junior champion Mao Shimada won the Japan Junior Championships for the third consecutive time with a strong free skate on Sunday night, November 19 at Kinoshita Kansei Ice Arena in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. 

The 15-year-old rose to the occasion after a disappointing short program on Friday to clinch the victory.

Shimada etched her name in the record books alongside Olympic champion Shizuka Arakawa (1994-96) and two-time world titlist Miki Ando (2001-03) as the only women to win the competition three years in a row. 

The Tokyo native's winning total score was 201.33 points, giving her a 12-point margin over second-place finisher Ikura Kushida, who had 190.12.

Thirteen-year-old Rena Uezono took third with 186.51, while Yo Takagi came in fourth on 183.96.

Mao Shimada
Women's champion Mao Shimada (center), runner-up Ikura Kushida (left) and third-place finisher Rena Uezono display their medals after the competition. (KYODO)


Mao Shimada Lands Eight Clean Triple Jumps in Free Skate

Shimada, who was the top scorer on the Junior Grand Prix circuit this season, skated to "Benedictus" and began with a sublime triple axel, before falling on a quadruple toe loop. 

She recovered and went on to land an impressive eight clean triple jumps while earning level fours on all of her spins in an enchanting performance that exhibited fine line and edge.

Mao Shimada
Mao Shimada (KYODO)

"I wonder if I got closer to the two of them," Shimada was quoted as saying about moving alongside the two skating legends. 


She added, "I just tried to forget about yesterday, [and] I was encouraged to believe in myself by the people around me."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


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.

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