JSF chief requests Mao meet

by Jack Gallagher

In the wake of Mao Asada’s poor showing at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow last weekend, Japan Skating Federation president Seiko Hashimoto has requested a meeting with the embattled skater.

Speaking after Mao’s news conference in Russia on Sunday, Hashimoto was quoted by Daily Sports as saying that “there is something wrong” and Mao “may need to change her circumstances.”

Hashimoto, a speed skating bronze medalist at the 1992 Winter Olympics, voiced her concerns about Japan’s top-ranked female skater in no uncertain terms.

“If the people surrounding you can’t give you proper advice, you’re done,” Hashimoto stated. “You can’t just have people that flatter you. You need to have people that can bring you in the right direction.”

Mao finished fifth in the Rostelecom Cup, which was won by compatriot Miki Ando. The result was Mao’s worst ever in a senior Grand Prix event and virtually assured she will not qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo in December.