Uno finishes second in Four Continents short program

AP, Kyodo

Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten took a commanding lead Thursday after the men’s short program at the Four Continents Championships.

The Kazakh skater scored 97.61 points, beating his former personal best of 92.51. Ten, 21, landed his quad toeloop and a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination as he skated to “Caruso” by Lucio Dalla.

Ten, who is ethnically Korean, said the championship in Seoul had special meaning for him. Asked about his long-term goals, he said he had a “higher dream” for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, than the bronze he won at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

“I’m quite relieved,” he told reporters. “I feel like I’m on the right track.”

Seventeen-year-old Shoma Uno was second with 88.90 points, completing a quad toeloop and a triple flip-triple toeloop combination in his debut at a senior international championship.

“I went for it with my quad, and then was very relaxed on my triple axel,” Uno said. “I got high points because I soared on my jumps.”

“Considering my practice in Japan, I’d have to say I can do better than this.”

China’s Yan Han was third with a score of 87.34, despite a stumble on a quad toeloop.

Takahito Mura place fourth with 84.88 points.

Despite his standing after the short program, defending champion Mura considered it a worthwhile effort.

“Because I’ve made so many mistakes in my short program this season, I’m glad I could put it all together,” he said. “My form on the quad is not good, so I want to make some adjustments as I look ahead to the free program.”

The men’s free skate is Saturday.

The women’s short program is scheduled for Friday.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada finished the pairs short program in first place, with 75.67 points. China’s Peng Cheng and Zhang Hao were second with 69.81 points. In third were Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China with 69.19 points.

The pairs free program will also be on Saturday.

In the short dance competition, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates had the lead with 70.38 points. Bates said they’ve made some changes to their footwork in the free dance portion of the program that will provide “a little bit of a mental challenge.”

“It’s nothing we can’t handle, and we made the changes with improvement in mind,” Bates said.

American siblings Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani were close behind in second place with 69.65 points. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were third with 68.31.

The free dance program will be Friday.