Takahashi captivates crowd at NHK Trophy
By Olga Fluegge and Vladislav Luchianov
2010 World champion Daisuke Takahashi overcame his struggles with the quadruple jump to dominate men’s short program with a personal best score this Friday at the NHK Trophy, the season’s fourth Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old opened his routine with a clean, strong and beautiful quad toe loop followed by a triple Axel, skating to the music of “Sonatina for Violin” by Mamoru Samuragochi. Japanese skater performed his short program in a very breathtaking manner and got deserved standing ovation from his home crowd.
Takahashi, who finished only fourth in the season-opening Grand Prix, Skate America, also nailed a triple-triple combination and hit a maximum level-four in a camel spin and a step sequence to collect 95.55 points.
Reigning European champion Javier Fernandez of Spain trailed in second spot with 84.78 points with fellow Japanese Nobunari Oda third with 82.70, heading to Saturday’s final free skate.
Takahashi’s previous best short program score was the 94.00 he marked at the Team Trophy competition in Tokyo last year.
At his previous Grand prix event, 2013 Skate America, he fell on an opening quad and went off balance in a triple axel in the short program. In the free skate, he barely landed on a quad.
“I am surprised by the 95 points,” he said media. “I was only thinking about jumping the quad as hard as I could, trying not to be overwhelmed by tension or fear. It would be great if I can wrap things up well again tomorrow.”
“I am extremely happy with my performance, because it was very clean and I skated much better than in the USA. I landed my jumps but my spins were not good. I wanted to get my confidence back and I feel really good about my skating today.” Takahashi modestly noted.
Fernandez, 22, the first world championship medalist in figure skating from Spain, touched the ice with both hands when he landed a quadruple.But he skated on to nail a triple axel and a triple-triple combination, scoring level-four in spins and steps in his first Grand Prix of this season.
“I am pleased overall how I skated today regardless that I lost a music balance; but I am looking for a clean skate tomorrow,” Spanish skater told.
“I didn’t do a great landing with my quad but I told myself to step up and I think I landed my other jumps pretty well. So I’m happy with how the season started.” he added.
Another Japan’s skater, Nobunari Oda, received level three for all spins, his quad toe loop was underrotated and his Lutz got an edge call.
“This is my first NHK Trophy since many years. A connection with the audience gave me a lot of energy. I was confident and skated clean, like I skated in September in Germany.” Oda noted.
NHK Trophy 2013 – Daisuke Takahashi, SP