• Kyodo

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Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi finished third after the men’s free skate Friday at the Four Continents Championships and all but booked a place in next month’s world championships.

Takahashi, who placed third after Wednesday’s short program, earned the second-highest mark in the free skate and received 192.29 points overall, 4.10 behind winner Evan Lysacek of the United States.

Lysacek, fifth after the short program, performed flawlessly and topped the field in each element on the judges’ scorecards as he beat short program winner Li Chengjiang into second place at Gangneung Ice Center.

“I was unable to skate well but I’m happy with this medal because it’s my first at a senior ISU (International Skating Union) event,” said Takahashi, winner at last month’s Winter University Games in Austria.

“I mistimed the first quadruple jump and fell but it did not affect the rest of my routine,” the Kansai University student said. “I think my mental approach to competition has improved.”

Kensuke Nakaniwa, runnerup at the national championships held in December, finished eighth and 18-year-old Kazumi Kishimoto was 10th.

The result means Takahashi is bound for the March 14-20 world championships in Moscow as the Japan Skating Federation had made clear that it will choose one man and one woman as Japanese representatives for the world meet on the basis of the Four Continents results.

Takeshi Honda has already booked a ticket to Moscow after winning the men’s national title.

As for the women, reigning world champion Shizuka Arakawa and national champion Miki Ando have been selected, with Fumie Suguri and Yoshie Onda vying for the final berth. Suguri and Onda are first and second going into Saturday’s Four Continents free stake.

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