Read the full story on SportsLook - Mao Shimada Leads Japan Sweep of the Women's Short Program at Osaka JGP
IZUMISANO, Osaka Prefecture ― World junior champion Mao Shimada picked up where she left off last season, seizing a massive lead after an electric performance in the women's short program at the Osaka Junior Grand Prix on Friday, September 15 at Kanku Ice Arena.
The diminutive 14-year-old is on top with a personal-best score of 73.78 points to lead a Japan sweep of the short program, ahead of compatriot Yo Takagi in second at 63.42 and Ikura Kushida in third on 62.79.
Shimada, who claimed the world junior, Junior GP Final and Japan Junior Championships crowns last season, looks poised to repeat the feat after her JGP season debut. She skated to "Americano" and "Composition" and was nearly flawless from start to finish to surpass her previous best score of 71.78 in the short program at last season's World Junior Championships in Calgary, Canada.
Successful Start for Mao Shimada
Shimada opened with a double axel, then landed a triple flip/triple toe loop combo, before hitting a nice triple lutz. She earned level fours on her spins and step sequence and ended her routine with a flashy high-speed hand above head spin that gained her a standing ovation from the audience.
"I was surprised because I didn't expect to get 73 points," Shimada stated. "The jumps and spins were also positively evaluated, and I was especially happy that the last spin we practiced was the most exciting."
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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.