October 25, 2019 / 11:51 PM / 2 months ago

Japan's Hanyu, Kihira win short programs at Skate Canada

(Reuters) - Double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu scored a season’s best to win the men’s short program at Skate Canada in British Columbia on Friday while Japanese compatriot Rika Kihira won a battle of triple axels on the women’s side.

Oct 25, 2019; Kelowna, British Columbia, CAN; Rika Kihira (JPN) perform during the ladies short program at the Skate Canada International figure skating competition at Prospera Place. Mandatory Credit: Dom Gagne-USA TODAY Sports

Hanyu, who finished runner-up in his three previous Skate Canada appearances, brought the house down in Kelowna with a program that earned him 109.60 points.

The result topped Hanyu’s previous season high of 98.38 points and, given the absence of a serious rival in the field, left him comfortably ahead of American Camden Pulkinen (89.05) and Canada’s Nam Nguyen (84.08).

Kihira (81.35) outdueled South Korean You Young (78.22) to win the ladies short program as both teenagers landed triple axels while world junior champion Alexandra Trusova of Russia took third (74.40).

Kihira, 17, began her program with a solid triple axel followed with a triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple loop and level-four spins and footwork.

“The quality of my triple axel and my triple loop was good, like in practice, but in some parts of the program I was nervous and I didn’t do my spins so well,” the International Skating Union grand final champion told reporters.

You, 15, landed a triple axel, triple lutz-triple toe and triple flip en route to a new personal best score.

Two-time Olympic silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia was sixth after falling on a triple lutz and stumbling on a double axel.

Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii were in front after the opening day of the pairs short program with 76.45 points while Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were second at 75.50.

Two-time world medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States took the ice dance lead, scoring 83.21 points to 82.58 for Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier in the rhythm dance competition.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina and Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Cynthia Osterman/Amlan Chakraborty

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