Read the full story on SportsLook - Yuma Kagiyama Takes Lead After Short Program at NHK Trophy with Stunning Showmanship
Beijing Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama took the lead after the short program at the NHK Trophy in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, on Friday night, November 24 with a spectacular performance. The 20-year-old wowed the crowd at Ractab Dome with a sublime combination of power and artistry.
Kagiyama, who is trying to clinch a spot in December's Grand Prix Final with a top-two finish, is in first place with a score of 105.51 points, ahead of two-time world champion Shoma Uno, who is second with 100.20. Switzerland's Lukas Britschgi is in third at 86.42.
Uno, who is also seeking to secure a spot in the GP Final with a first- or second-place showing, had a solid outing himself but was not up to the level of his compatriot on this evening.
Kagiyama skated to "Believer" and energized the audience with beautiful line and edge throughout his routine. He opened with a huge quadruple salchow, followed by a quad toe loop/triple toe loop combination jump, and went on to hit a nice triple axel and earned level fours on his spins and step sequence. Kagiyama now owns the top short program score in the world this season.
"I didn't really care about the world's highest score," Kagiyama was quoted as saying. "However, today I was most conscious of making sure I was able to put everything together properly. I am very happy that I received a score of 105 points."
He continued: "I was able to get all of my [program component] scores in the 9-point range, which I am happy about."
Kagiyama added, "I also managed to get all level fours, so I guess that was my takeaway from this experience."
Uno Experiences Jump Issues in Short Program
The 25-year-old Uno competed to "I Love You Kung Fu" and "Claire de Lune" and began with a strong quad flip. But he had issues with the quad toe loop/triple toe loop jump that followed. He was a quarter rotation short on the front end of the combo and under-rotated the back end of it. Uno registered level fours on two spins and his step sequence.
"I think today's performance was very good," Uno commented, adding, "I gave all I have in terms of my expression. The score isn't too bad. Overall, I'm satisfied.
"The first jump of the combinations had a 'q' (a quarter rotation short on a jump), the second was a bit under-rotated, but the performance was good," Uno continued. "I'm looking forward to everyone's opinion about my scoring in jumps and the other elements."
Tatsuya Tsuboi is in 12th place with 64.63.
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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.