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Mao Shimada Holds Slim Lead After Short Program at the World Junior Championships

The rising star earns a season-best 71.78 points and sits ahead of Jia Shin by less than a point at the World Junior Championships. Ami Nakai is in third place.

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World Junior Championships
Mao Shimada skates to "Lion King" in the women's short program at the World Junior Championships in Calgary, Canada, on March 1. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Mao Shimada Holds Slim Lead After Short Program at the World Junior Championships

CALGARY, Canada ― Mao Shimada came through with a fantastic short program to take the lead at the World Junior Championships on Wednesday night, March 1 at WinSport Arena. 

Shimada entered the competition as a prohibitive favorite and lived up to her billing in the pressure-packed atmosphere. 

The 14-year-old is in first place after posting a season-best score of 71.78 points, putting her less than one point ahead of South Korea's Jia Shin, who is second with 71.19.

Japan's Ami Nakai is in third place at 67.28, while Shin's compatriot Yujae Kim is fourth on 63.97.

Shimada, the Junior Grand Prix Final champion this season, skated to "Lion King" and was on point all the way in a yellow outfit with strong jumps, outstanding spins and excellent speed.

Beginning with a nice triple loop, Shimada then hit a double axel, before going on to land a triple lutz/triple toe combination jump. She displayed beautiful line and edge while exhibiting her sublime skating skills. Shimada earned level fours on two of her spins and her step sequence.

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"I was nervous, but it was fun," Shimada replied when asked about her skate this night in the Canadian province of Alberta.

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 Twitter @sportsjapan.