Japan takes gold in singles, Radionova continues to impress

Mao Asada wins 2013 NHK Trophy

By Vladislav Luchianov

The home crowd in the capital of Japan had plenty to shout about Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada claimed their fifth and fourth NHK Trophy wins respectively today.

A two-time world champion Mao Asada was clearly inspired as she too went on to claim another NHK Trophy victory in the ladies event.

Asada also held top spot after the short program and remained at the summit after scoring 136.33 in her free skate – taking her total to 207.59 which was not only good enough for the win but also secures herself a spot at next month’s Grand Final following on from her Skate America win.

She under-rotated her opening triple Axel, which still looked gorgeous, but performed the rest of her program very strong, beautiful and almost clean, finishing with a total of 207.59 points.

“I was a bit disappointed not to do the triple axel cleanly,” Asada said media. “It’s something I want to be able to do well but I’m happy with the overall result.” she added.

Russian Elena Radionova was almost 16 points further back to take second (191.81 points) while Japan’s Akiko Suzuki claimed bronze (179.32), making some mistakes during the program that didn’t affect the overall impression of her inspired performance.

Radionova continues to amaze, impress and touch spectators in her debut senior Grand Prix season by strong and beautiful performances. Just a few weeks ago, at the 2013 Skate America – Radionova’s first senior Grand Prix event – she won a bronze with an overall score of 183.95 points. In Japan she definitely improved her statistics.

“It’s certainly not the limit, I will strive for more. Today I was fully concentrated on my jumps and it gave the result. My coach, Inna Goncharenko, was very pleased. This is our common victory, which means that the joint work was not in vain. But I have to work more on my components to raise a second mark.” 14-year-old Muscovite commented.

In men’s event Daisuke Takahashi took his fifth NHK Trophy gold. 2010 Olympic bronze medalist picking up where he left off after opening up a ten-point lead following Friday’s short program.

Skating to a medley of Beatles tunes, he went on to nail a quadruple toe loop as well as two triple Axels and four triple jumps, touching the ice once in landing. The 27-year-old dazzled with steps and spins, hitting a maximum level-four in most of them.

Takahashi’s victory kept alive his chance to qualify for the December 5-8 Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, which brings together the top six finishers in each category.

By the end of the competition Takahashi had stretched that lead to more than 15 points after scoring 172.76 for his free skate – giving him a total of 268.31.

“I guess I was a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere which was quite tense today,” Japanese skater said. “But I managed to show improvement from Skate America, “I think my confidence has come back somewhat.” he added.

Takahashi’s compatriot Nobunari Oda finished second (253.16) while American Jeremy Abbott (237.41) jumped from seventh place to snatch third.

Update on pair skating and ice dance by Olga Fluegge

Russia’s Tatiana Volososhar/Maxim Trankov won NHK Trophy for the first time with a total score of 236,49 points. They put out a strong performance landing side by side triple jumps, a triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow.

“We feel very happy today. Before this season we discussed with our coaches on what our strength is. We don’t want to do ultra-C elements like quad twist. We were working very hard on elements and components.” they told media.

“We feel pressure because the Olympics will be in Russia and it is very special competition, and it will be very hard for us to skate on home ice. Our goal is to skate every competition clean. We just keep working to feel confident at Olympics.” they added.

China’s Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang produced a quadruple twist, a big throw triple Salchow and difficult lifts in their program to earn a silver with 182.18 points. Their compatriots, Wenjing Sui/Cong Han, performed a free skate program that included a quadruple twist, a throw triple Salchow and two level-four lifts, but they made several errors including her falling from a lift to take a bronze with 171.32 points.

In ice dance, Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) skated to a clear victory at NHK Trophy (186.45) leading over silver medalists Anna Capellini/Luca Lanotte from Italy by more than 25 points. Every element in their gorgeous routine to ”Scheherezade”, except diagonal step sequence, got level four.

“We are very pleased with the performance today and will be back in a couple weeks in Japan at Grand Prix Final. Thank you, Tokyo!” said the winners. Talking about their performance they admit that they are feeling a growth from Skate America and felt the energy from the audience who welcomed Meryl and Charlie with standing ovations. “The crowd, staying after our performance, gives us more motivation. It is never getting boring to compete.” they added.

Italy’s Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (160.06) remained in second place and another Americans, Maia and Alex Shibutani, reached their season’s best (157.58 points) and took a bronze.

Related video:

NHK Trophy 2013 – Mao Asada, FS

Photo: @sleepingpig_

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