Japan dominates ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023 with historic gold medal haul

Japan dominates ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023 with historic gold medal haulJapan dominates ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023 with historic gold medal haul
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Bryan Ke
March 27, 2023
Japan made history at this year’s ISU World Figure Skating Championships over the weekend after winning three out of four gold medals for the first time in ISU Championship history.
Japanese pair Riku Miura, 21, and Ryuichi Kihara, 30, kicked off Japan’s winning streak at the championships held at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama prefecture, Japan, once they bagged the country’s first-ever gold medal in the category on Thursday.
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Miura and Kihara placed second in the free skate competition after scoring 141.44, just short of American skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier’s first-place score of 142.84.
In the end, the Japanese pair still bested their American opponents with a total overall score of 222.16, as opposed to second-place skaters Knierim and Frazier’s 217.48. Italy’s Sara Conti and Niccolò Macii received 208.08 total points, placing them in third.
After the Four Continents, we worked really hard to have no regrets, and in the short program we were able to show what we’ve been working on, but today in the free skate my weakness came out and I feel regret, but I am happy,” Miura said, Inside the Games reported.
The first half of the season was a bit difficult for us, because Riku got injured, however, because of that we were able to acknowledge how strong our bond is,” Kihara said, adding that he was happy with the result.
Our trust for each other grew, but during this season our weakness came out a few times in our free skate, so for next season we hope to come back stronger.”
The first Japanese woman to ever defend her ISU World Championships title, Kaori Sakamoto, 22, won Japan’s second gold medal on Friday after beating second-place Lee Hae-in from South Korea and bronze medalist Loena Hendrickx from Germany.
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Just as her teammates did in the pair discipline, Sakamoto also placed second in the free skate, scoring 145.37, with Lee taking the highest score in the competition with 147.32.
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The Japanese figure skater triumphed in the category with an overall score of 224.61, 3.67 points higher than Lee’s final score of 220.94. Meanwhile, Hendrickx, who scored a total of 220.42, lost to Lee by 0.52 points.
Speaking in Japanese, Sakamoto admitted to Olympics.com that she felt nervous when she entered the short program on Wednesday night.

I haven’t been confident with my short program all season, so there was some concern coming in, but I thought I was thorough today. I had fun out there. Performance-wise though, I feel like it was the best of the season. I was more nervous today than I’ve been all season.

Japan’s 2018 Winter Olympics silver medalist Shoma Uno, 25, bagged his country’s third win on Saturday after he successfully defended his ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2022 title against South Korean skater Cha Jun-hwan and Ilia Malinin from the U.S.
Even though Uno felt he was not in top shape to defend his title following an ankle injury during practice before the competition, the Japanese skater still managed to beat Cha with a total score of 301.14, 5.11 points higher than the South Korean skater’s score of 296.03. Malinin received a total score of 288.44.
I was fine until about two weeks ago but last week it became terrible,” Uno told reporters on Tuesday. “[This season] I’ve been competing like I’ve been practising which is good, but now since I’m not practicing well I don’t feel great about my chances here.”

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