• Kyodo


Miki Ando and Takahiko Kozuka were thoroughly pleased with their routines on Sunday after sweeping the women’s and men’s titles for Japan at the Cup of China a day earlier.

“I put more emphasis on how I skated, rather than the result,” said Ando, who came behind from third after the short program to launch her Grand Prix season with a win.

“I’m glad I achieved my goal of landing five jumps in the last half of the free program.”

Ando hopes to compete at the world championships next March in Tokyo, where she claimed her maiden victory four years ago. But she remained wary of her Japanese rivals, including world champion Mao Asada as well as Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami.

Suzuki was runnerup to Ando, while Murakami won a bronze in the NHK Trophy last month.

“We have a strong field in the women’s, but if I’m selected to skate (at the world championships), I’d be more than happy if I could turn in a good performance as well as a result there,” Ando said.

Kozuka, fresh from winning his second career Grand Prix event with a personal-best of 233.51 points, said, “The victory sunk in when I was singing the national anthem on the podium.”

“I really was able to skate without any worries this time. I was calm and could skate at my own pace.”

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