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Japanese figure skaters shine in Skate Canada

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OTTAWA, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) — Japanese figure skaters shone on Saturday winning three gold medals out of four at Skate Canada, the second event of the 2022-2023 ISU figure skating Grand Prix series.

Japan’s Rinka Watanabe soared from sixth place after the women’s short program to take gold on her ISU Grand Prix debut. Starr Andrews of the United States climbed from fifth to take the silver, while You Young of South Korea earned the bronze.

Watanabe opened her program to “Jin” with a triple Axel and followed up with four more clean triples and level-four spins. However, she under-rotated her triple loop-triple toe combination, and the second triple Lutz was downgraded, picking up 134.32 points in the free skating to tally 197.59 points.

“This is my first time in the Grand Prix and I was very nervous. I was told only one week ago that I would go here and I had to adjust my training. I had some challenges to overcome, but did well,” Watanabe said.

Reigning world silver medalists Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara won the first ISU Grand Prix gold medal in the pairs category for Japan. Emily Chan/Spencer Akira Howe of the United States claimed the silver, while the bronze went to Italy’s Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii.

Skating to “Atlas Two” by Sleeping At Last, Miura/Kihara produced a triple twist, a side-by-side triple Salchow, a throw triple Lutz and loop, as well as two level-four lifts. The only error came when Miura put her hand down on the triple toeloop. The Japanese pair scored 138.63 points in the free skating and accumulated 212.02 points overall for their first ISU Grand Prix gold medal after a silver and a bronze last season.

In the men’s free skating, 2022 ISU world champion Shoma Uno jumped to gold, overtaking teammate Kao Miura for a Japanese 1-2 finish. Matteo Rizzo of Italy secured the bronze in what was an exciting final.

Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier danced off with their third Skate Canada International gold medal. Britain’s Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson collected the silver, while Canadians Marjorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha took the bronze.

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