• Kyodo

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Yamato Tamura made a bright start in the absence of compatriot Takeshi Honda when he finished second after the men’s short program at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships on Thursday.

News photoJapan’s Yamato Tamura performs his short program at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Hamilton, Ontario.

The All-Japan champion produced a solid skate at Copps Coliseum to place second behind Canadian Jeffrey Buttle while Emanuel Sandhu, also of Canada, was third.

Honda, the defending Four Continents champion, pulled out of the competition at the last minute due to a sore ankle.

Honda took to the ice for a warm-up but after six minutes decided that his pain was too great in his right ankle and withdrew.

“I just couldn’t fight through the pain,” shrugged Honda. “I’ve tried all kinds of treatment since injuring the ankle in November but it isn’t getting any better. It’s very frustrating,” he said.

“I also had MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests on the ankle and it appears that there is a little bit of damage to the bone. This is the biggest injury for me in nine years of competing on the rink.”

Daisuke Takahashi, Japan’s other entry in the men’s competition, finished ninth while in the ice dance competition Nozomi Watanabe and Akiyuki Kido produced Japan’s best performance by placing fifth after the original dance.

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