The tables were turned in the women's competition as MIHARA Mai overtook SAKAMOTO Kaori in the free skate. In the men's competition, KAGIYAMA Yuma made it an impressive double with a second victory in as many days.
Kagiyama Yuma and Mihara Mai made it a Japanese double, as they won the men's and women's Asian Open figure skating trophies in Beijing on Friday (15 October).
Mihara needed to pull out something special in the free skate to overturn her compatriot Sakamoto Kaori's overnight lead after the latter outscored her in Thursday's short program. And the 22-year-old duly obliged, putting in a scintillating display to score 135.75, giving her a total of 203.58, with Sakamoto finishing narrowly behind on 202.28 after struggling with her jumps on Friday.
In the men's competition, World silver medallist Kagiyama won for the second day in a row to claim the overall title. His score of 179.98 (277.78 total) in the free skate gave him an unassailable lead over compatriot SATO Shun (165.39 and 256.16) and meant Japanese athletes finished in the top two positions in both the men's and women's competitions.
Kagiyama has already tasted victory at the Olympics, having secured gold at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. He can now add the Asian Trophy title to his burgeoning medal collection.
In the pairs free skating, People's Republic of China's SUI Wenjing and HAN Cong took top spot and can now look forward to the chance to perform on home soil at Beijing 2022.
“Our goal for Beijing 2022 is to hear the anthem in the medal plaza and see the national flag lifted," Sui said, referencing February's Winter Olympic Games." We’ll increase the difficulty of our routine over the next months, we have prepared for that, you’ll see that over the next competitions.”
HAN expressed pride at the facilities at the Capitol Indoor Stadium where the Asian Open, which doubles as a Beijing 2022 test event, is taking place, saying: “The whole venue is gorgeous, which makes us feel that our country has really made great efforts in hosting the Winter Olympic Games.”
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