Osaka, Japan

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Yuma Kagiyama claimed top spot on his senior Grand Prix debut ©International Skating Union (ISU)

Reigning ISU World Junior silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan took the lead in the Men’s Short Program in his senior-level ISU Grand Prix debut at NHK Trophy in Osaka (JPN) on Friday. Japan’s Kazuki Tomono placed second ahead of another Japanese newcomer, Lucas Tsuyoshi Honda.

Kagiyama started well into his fast-paced routine to “Vocussion” with a solid quad Salchow-triple toeloop and quad toeloop. However, the 2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion popped the Axel into a single. He picked up a level four for his spins and steps to take the lead with 87.26 points. 

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The World Junior silver medalist claimed a top score of 87.26 ©International Skating Union (ISU)

“In the first half of the program I did the way I practiced and I thought I was going to have a clean performance, but then I got a little tired in the second half and I popped the Axel. I hated that. Axel is not my forte and maybe I became too careful going in,” the ISU World Junior silver medalist commented. “My Free Skating (to “Avatar”) is quite the contrast from the short program. I’ve never performed to this kind of music before,” he continued. 

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Kazuki Tomono's varied routine earned him second place in Osaka ©International Skating Union (ISU)

Performing to “Chroma 3 – The Hardest Button to Button”, Tomono completed a quadruple Salchow, triple Axel and a somewhat shaky quad toe-double toeloop combination. Two spins and the footwork were rated a level three. The ISU World Championships competitor scored 83.27 points.

“I think I lost speed and was a somewhat hesitant in the first half, but then I calmed myself down in the second half. I think I did well with the step sequence and the artistic impression,” Tomono said. “I felt that last season my Short Program was not at a 100 percent and I wanted to make sure to refine it. Therefore, I decided to keep it,” he added.

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Japanese Junior Champion Lucas Tsuyoshi Honda took third in the NHK Trophy Short Program ©International Skating Union (ISU)

Newcomer Honda had skated first out of the 11 skaters and set the bar high with a clean performance to “S.O.S. d’un terrien en détresse” that included a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toeloop and triple Lutz. The freshly minted Japanese Junior Champion earned 79.22 points. 

“To be honest, I am surprised myself. I would have loved to get into the second group (for the Free Skating), but I never thought I would be third,” the 18-year-old shared. “It is tough, challenging. I came back from Junior Nationals on Tuesday and on Thursday I was skating here. It is a tight schedule, but the conditioning went well.”

Keiji Tanaka (JPN) stumbled on his quad Salchow and reduced his combination to double flip-triple toe to come fourth on 76.57 points. Yuto Kishina (JPN) ranked fifth with 74.44 points followed by Sena Miyake (JPN) on 74.34 points. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Shun Sato (JPN) made errors on two jumping passes and sits in 7th (72.04 points). 

Mitsuki Sumoto (JPN) withdrew before the Men’s Short Program citing illness. 

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ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2020

·        2020 Guaranteed Rate Skate America, Las Vegas (USA) – October 22-24

·        Shiseido Cup of China, Chongqing (CHN) – November 6-8

·        Rostelecom Cup, Moscow (RUS) – November 20-22

·        NHK Trophy, Osaka (JPN) – November 27-29 

·       ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final postponed

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final that was to be held as an Olympic Test Event on December 10-13 has been postponed. The ISU, in consultation with all stakeholders and considering the pandemic developments, is evaluating the continuation of the 2020/21 season.

About ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series started in 1995 (previously known a s the ISU Champions Series) and consists of six invitational international senior events and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Due to the current situation, the usual selection criteria do not apply. Please see the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating page for further information.