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Yuma Kagiyama Holds Off Shoma Uno to Win the NHK Trophy

Kagiyama took a five-point lead into the NHK Trophy men's free skate and needed almost all of it to stave off Uno for the win in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture.

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NHK Trophy
Yuma Kagiyama performs his free skate routine at the NHK Trophy on November 25, 2023, in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Yuma Kagiyama Holds Off Shoma Uno to Win the NHK Trophy

Beijing Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama showed he is all the way back from the ankle injury that sidelined him for most of the 2022-23 season with a narrow victory over two-time world champion Shoma Uno at the NHK Trophy on Saturday night, November 25 in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture.

The 20-year-old Kagiyama took a five-point lead into the free skate and needed almost all of it to stave off Uno for the win at Ractab Dome. 

For Kagiyama, the triumph clinched a spot in the Grand Prix Final for him for the first time as a senior skater.

Kagiyama's winning total score was 288.39 points, less than two ahead of Uno, who finished second with 286.55. 

Switzerland's Lukas Britschgi took third at 254.60.

NHK Trophy
NHK Trophy men's winner Yuma Kagiyama (right) and silver medalist Shoma Uno pose for a photograph during the awards ceremony. (KYODO/via REUTERS)

Kagiyama only attempted two quadruple jumps in his skate to "Rain, in Your Black Eyes," but they were both well executed. 

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His opening quad salchow was a thing of beauty and earned him a whopping 14.00 points. He followed that with a quad toe loop/Euler/double salchow and then clinically moved through the rest of his program.

Kagiyama landed four clean triples and earned level fours on all of his spins and step sequence. He did fall on a triple axel midway through his routine. But he was nearly flawless in all the other elements and that helped carry him to the top of the podium.

NHK Trophy
Yuma Kagiyama (KYODO)

Kagiyama Shares Thoughts on NHK Trophy Triumph

"I didn't think about the outcome and just focused on the elements and what I had to do," Kagiyama stated in an interview after the win. "Skating last makes you nervous, but skating with Shoma is so much fun and I will get to do it again at the Grand Prix Final."

Kagiyama said he is determined to put on another great show at the GP Final in Beijing (December 7-10).

"I hope to improve much more than today," Kagiyama commented.

He added, "I hope to have a perfect short program and free skate there, [and] I want to put all of my energy into it."

NHK Trophy
Shoma Uno (KYODO)

Uno Also Qualifies for the GP Final

Uno did not have his best outing, as he struggled with jumps throughout his skate to "Timelapse" and Spiegel im Spiegel." He did win the free skate by almost 3.5 points over Kagiyama (186.35 to 182.88). But he was judged a quarter rotation short on all four quads he attempted and also penalized one point for a time violation.

Taking second place qualified Uno for the GP Final, where he will seek to defend the title he won in the 2022-23 season in Turin, Italy.

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Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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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.

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