The NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan concluded Sunday with the Men's Free Skating and the Exhibition Gala. The NHK Trophy was the fourth of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. Like on Saturday, 5 733 spectators followed the competition in the sold out Makomanai Sekisui Heim Ice Arena in Sapporo.
Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) strikes gold
Daisuke Takahashi of Japan struck gold in the Men's event with teammate Takahiko Kozuka claiming the silver. Ross Miner (USA) came from sixth place to earn the bronze medal.
Takahashi went for a quad flip in his Blues for Klook program but underrotated and fell. He recovered to produce five good triple jumps and two level-four spins and scored a seasons best of 169.32 points. The 2010 World Champion racked up 259.75 points overall and with his win as well assured his spot in the Final. I am relieved to advance to the Grand Prix Final, but I know I must improve my performance in order to be ready for the Final. My performance today wasn't a 100 percent yet and I won't win in the Final with that kind of performance. But I am happy that I was able to land the quad flip in the six-minutes warm up, Takahashi said.
Skating to Nausicaa Princess of the Wind, Kozuka reeled off two triple Axels and four more triples, but two-footed an underrotated quad toe. The reigning World silver medallist picked up a new seasons best ot 155.25 points which added up to 235.02 points. Ever since the World Championships I have come to understand how good of a feeling it is to be on the podium. I'm glad to finish in the top three. However, a closer look to my performance reveals some errors. I wasn't able to skate cleanly from the beginning to the end and before I knew it my performance was over. I'd like to train harder so I'm able to skate very clean, Kozuka told the press.
Miner turned in a solid performance to The Untouchables soundtrack that featured two triple Axels and difficult spins to earn 141.24 points and 212.36 overall. It's awesome to be up here. I really wasn't anticipating to get a medal here. It is my first Grand Prix medal. When I came to this competition my goal was to make myself happy. It wasn't a perfect, but a solid skate, the 20-year-old commented.
Samuel Contesti (ITA) moved up from seventh to fourth at 209.69 points and Tomas Verner pulled up from ninth to fifth with 196.63 points. Brandon Mroz (USA), who stood in third place following the Short Program, dropped to ninth after making several errors.
For full results, please refer to www.isu.org. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series continues next week with the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, France.