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World champion Mao stays focused

Kyodo

Newly crowned world champion Mao Asada said Sunday she is determined to stay at the very top.

“I have trained hard the last four years for the Olympics and the world championships puts an end to that effort. But I want to stay strong and continue being at the top.” Mao told a press conference a day after beating Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu Na to capture her second world title in three years.

Vancouver silver medalist Mao is poised to leave her Russian coach Tatiana Tarasova and look for a new coach next season, most likely a Japanese coach who has strength in technical guidance.

Men’s world champion Daisuke Takahashi, meanwhile, looked back on the right knee injury that forced him out of competition in 2008-09 and said it was a necessity for his success.

“Because I have suffered the injury, I could reaffirm the purpose of skating. The injury was a necessity to win a medal,” the Olympic bronze medalist said.

Takahashi, with an eye on a second straight world title, will undergo surgery to remove a bolt in his right knee as early as May.

After the operation, he will need to stop training on ice for a month for rehabilitation.

Earlier in the day, Miki Ando’s Russian coach Nikolai Morozov revealed that he will move their training base to Moscow from New Jersey.

“I’ll take Ando to Moscow,” said Morozov. He will not coach Nobunari Oda next season but will stay on as a coach of ice dance siblings Cathy and Chris Reed.

Ando finished fourth in the world championships. Oda failed to qualify for the 24-man free skate.