Japan National Championships 2016/2017

Satoko Miyahara performs her free-skate routine en route to the women’s title at the All-Japan Championships on Sunday in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture. | KYODO

Miyahara claims third straight national title

Satoko Miyahara wrapped up her third straight women’s title at Japan’s figure skating national championships on Sunday.

The 18-year-old, who compiled a huge lead in Saturday’s short program, became the first woman to win three straight national crowns since Mao Asada won four from 2006 to 2009.

“I wanted to perform better, so I feel some regret,” Miyahara said. “Still, I’m glad I was able to keep things together.

“I’ve grown since last year, but still I want to work harder in practice as I go forward.”

Mao, a three-time world champion, crashed to a career-worst 12th place. After sitting out the 2015-2016 season, Mao has struggled with injuries this year. Asked if she would compete next season, she said, “Yes. That’s right.”

“I wasn’t able to put together my best performances in either the short program or the free, so there’s a lot of frustration,” she said.

Miyahara finished with a total score of 214.87 points, to leave 15-year-old Wakaba Higuchi runner-up with 199.49. Seventeen-year-old Mai Mihara (198.17) was third.

At the completion of the competition, Japan’s team for next year’s worlds in Helsinki was announced.

Shoma Uno, who won his first men’s national title on Saturday, and four-time national champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who had locked up their spots at this month’s Grand Prix Final, were joined by Keiji Tanaka, the men’s runner-up.

Miyahara, Higuchi and Mihara are also bound for the worlds as are national pairs champions Sumire Suto and Francis Boudreau-Audet of Canada, and ice dance champions Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed.

Source: japantimes.co.jp

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