Asada sees off Kim comeback to seal world title

Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:02pm EDT
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By Mark Meadows

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Japan's Mao Asada finally outdid South Korean rival Kim Yuna Saturday, snatching the women's title at the world figure skating championships to gain some consolation for missing gold at the Winter Olympics.

Asada finished second in the final free program behind Kim, who had beaten her to the Olympic gold with a record-breaking performance.

Kim's performance Saturday was enough to take her up from seventh to second overall, after a disappointing display in the short program wrecked her gold hopes.

Finland's Laura Lepisto took bronze in the final competitive event of the centenary championships, which were dogged by top withdrawals coming so soon after Vancouver.

American 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu, who led after Friday's program in her first world championships, tumbled in her free routine to the haunting melodies of "Carmen" to drop down to seventh overall.

The result meant Europe failed to win at least one gold in the four events for the first time and gave Japan both the individual titles after Daisuke Takahashi became the first Asian to win the men's crown Thursday.

"Takahashi's gold encouraged me to win today," Vancouver silver medalist Asada told the crowd after sealing her second world title.

"I heard all the cheers from the Japanese fans. Everyone here today really pushed me."   Continued...

<p>Tessa Virtue (R) and Scott Moir of Canada perform during the ice dance free dance event at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin March 26, 2010. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito</p>