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Rio Nakata in 5th Place After Short Program at World Junior Championships

The 15-year-old JGP Final winner is less than three points behind South Korea's Minkyu Seo in the men's competition at the World Junior Championships in Taipei.



World Junior Championships
Rio Nakata performs his rendition of "God Particle" in the men's short program at the 2024 World Junior Figure Skating Championships on February 29 in Taipei. (©ISU)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Rio Nakata in 5th Place After Short Program at the World Junior Championships

Despite skating to a personal-best score, Rio Nakata is in fifth place after the short program at the World Junior Championships at Taipei Arena on Thursday night, February 29. 

The 15-year-old, who won this season's Junior Grand Prix Final in December 2023, is within striking distance, however, as he trails leader Minkyu Seo of South Korea by less than three points.

Seo is on top with a score of 80.58 points, while France's Francois Pitot is second at 78.79. Slovakia's Adam Hagara is third on 78.02, while Canada's Aleksa Rakic is fourth with 77.74.

Nakata tallied 77.60 and will enter Saturday's free skate in Taipei with a good shot at a medal after a disappointing fifth-place finish at January's Winter Youth Olympics.

Shunsuke Nakamura is in 10th with 72.85, while Haru Kakiuchi stands in 16th at 65.49.

World Junior Championships
Minkyu Seo reacts after his short program routine at the World Junior Championships. (©ISU)

Successful Start for Seo at World Junior Championships

Seo skated to "Flower Dance" and put on a sublime show. He opened with a nice triple axel, then landed a triple lutz (with an edge call), and hit a superb triple flip/triple toe loop combination jump near the end of his program.


The 15-year-old Seo earned level fours on all of his spins and step sequence in recording a new personal best. He was technically solid while showing real flair in his skating.

"I am very happy with my clean skate and the personal best today," Seo stated. "At the beginning of the season, I only jumped the double axel in the short program, but I included the triple axel today to be more competitive."

Added Seo, "From a young age on I wanted to always focus more on the performance and the choreography. This is more important to me than the technical content."

Nakata Pleased with Return to Form

Nakata, who has been a bit inconsistent since his JGP Final triumph, looked back on track in his skate to "God Particle." He began with a fine triple axel, then landed a triple flip/triple toe loop combo, and went on to hit a strong triple lutz.

Nakata received level fours on two of his spins and a level three on the other and his step sequence.

"The Youth Olympics gave me a big shock, and I was pretty scared of the short program today in many ways," Nakata admitted. "I'm glad it went much better than that time. Although there are still things that I hope to fix, I thought it was good."

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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