Led by 2016 Four Continents champion Satoko Miyahara, the Japanese Ladies dominated the Short Program at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei on Wednesday. The 2017 World Junior bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto came second, while defending Four Continents champion Mai Mihara was third.
Miyahara opened her Japanese-themed program to “Memoirs of a Geisha” with a triple Lutz-triple toe, but the first jump was underrotated. The 2015 World silver medalist went on to reel off a triple loop and double Axel, as well as exquisite spins and footwork that were rated a level four. The Japanese champion scored 71.74 points.
“I could have done more today and I have a lot of regrets. The step sequence and the spins were quite good, though. I think I need more confidence, but it was a good performance. I want to do my best in the free program, especially in the jumps. This will be the last performance before the Olympics so I want to be satisfied with it,” Miyahara said.
Skating to “Moonlight Sonata”, Sakamoto hit a triple flip-triple toe combination, triple loop and double Axel as well as three level-four spins to achieve a personal best of 71.34 points.
“I am really happy to surpass 70 points in international competition for the first time. The step sequence was a level three, which still can be improved. But other than that I was very satisfied with the performance,” the 17-year-old said.
Mihara put in a strong performance to “Libertango” that included a triple Lutz-triple toe, triple flip and difficult spins. The 2017 Four Continents champion earned 69.84 points, a season's best.
“I am very happy to have done my best short program this season; I don’t worry about the result today. Before the competition, I set a goal for myself to concentrate and to focus on my own performance. In today’s performance, I was able to stay calm and very focused from the beginning until the end, so I was happy with how I did,” Mihara said.
Mariah Bell (USA) fell on the back end of her triple Lutz-triple toe combination to place fourth in the first segment of the competition (62.90 points). Dabin Choi (KOR) is in fifth on 62.30 points, while her 15-year-old teammate Hanul Kim, the youngest skater in the event, currently ranks sixth (61.15 points).