Yuzuru Hanyu performs during the Grand Prix Final on Nov. 25. | REUTERS
Men’s Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu has withdrawn from Japan’s national championships due to influenza, the Japan Skating Federation announced Wednesday.
The event, which starts Thursday, serves as a qualifier for Japan’s team for March’s world championships in Helsinki. Hanyu has won the national title the past four years, but is said to need at least another week of rest.
He returned to Japan on Dec. 13 from Marseille, France, where he became the first man or woman to win four straight Grand Prix Final individual championships. Two days later he came down with the flu.
“I cannot apologize enough for being a bother and causing concern,” Hanyu said in a statement. “I will focus on resting and treatment so I can come back fully fit.”