TAIPEI, Feb 18, (AFP): World silver medallist Satoko Miyahara beat her personal best to lead after the women’s short programme at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei on Thursday.
Her flamenco-inspired number gave her a score of 72.48 points, her highest of the season.
“I didn’t make a big mistake so I feel relieved,” said Miyahara, 17, who was last year’s runner-up.
Fellow Japanese skater and 2014 Four Continents champion Kanako Murakami ranked second with 68.51 points and Mirai Nagasu, from the United States, came third with 66.06 points.
More than one fall marred the performance of ISU Grand Prix finalist Gracie Gold, who failed to make it into the top five on Thursday but hopes to make a comeback in the free skate.
“I just wasn’t really in proper shape for this event,” Gold, of the US, said sombrely after her short programme.
“Skating is a scientific sport. If you’re too heavy obviously you can’t get into the air,” she said.
In the pairs, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China are on their way to reclaim the gold after losing the title last year to Canadian pair Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.
The Chinese skaters scored a season-best of 78.51 points in the short programme.
Duhamel and Radford posted 71.90 points, followed by American pair Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim’s 67.61 points.
In the ice dance event, newly crowned American champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani ranked first with 72.86 points in their best performance so far this season.
The sibling team is narrowly ahead of defending champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada, who scored 72.42 points.
“Going forward, we feel sort of a sense of freedom,” said older brother Alex, 24.
“I think the confidence you’re seeing is something from within us and we’re ready to take that next step forward,” he added.
Four Continents Results
- Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) 72.86 points; 2. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) 72.42 points; 3. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) 69.36 points; 4. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) 67.05 points; 5. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) 63.92 points.
- Satoko Miyahara (JPN) 72.48 points; 2. Kanako Murakami (JPN) 68.51 points; 3. Mirai Nagasu (USA) 66.06 points; 4. Rika Hongo (JPN) 64.27 points; 5. So Youn Park (KOR) 62.49 points.
- Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) 78.51 points; 2. Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) 71.90 points; 3. Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knierim (USA) 67.61 points; 4. Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) 64.99 points; 5. Lubov Iliushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) 61.97 points.