• Kyodo


Nobunari Oda on Sunday preferred to draw on the positives of his performance after squandering the chance to become the first Japanese man to strike gold at the Grand Prix Final in Beijing.

Oda cashed in on a decision to incorporate a quad in his short program for the first time this season and took the lead with a breathtaking skate, only to allow Canada’s Patrick Chan to come from behind on Saturday and skate off with the title.

It proved to be a case of deja vu for the 23-year-old, who led the short program in both of his events on the GP circuit this term at Skate Canada and Skate America before finishing runner-up behind Chan and compatriot Daisuke Takahashi, respectively.

“Obviously it is very frustrating not being able to win after leading in the short program but I was able to take positives from this event and hopefully I will be able to build on them,” Oda told reporters before Sunday’s closing gala at Capital Gymnasium.

“The biggest plus was pulling off the quad in the short program and even though I messed up my opening quad in the free skate I didn’t make any other major mistakes after that. I made a few adjustments to my program before I arrived here and they went well.”

“I knew if I didn’t give the quads a shot I wouldn’t have any chance of winning and I am going to keep attempting them in the national championships (later this month) and beyond.”

“I am not the type of skater that has the talent to generate enough points in my program without including quads and they have gradually become more stable,” he said.

Chan, whose previous best finish at the GP final was fifth, skated second to last Saturday and heaped pressure on Oda with a free program that earned him his personal best score of 174.16 points and proved to be good enough to secure victory with a total of 259.75, also the best of his career.

“I already knew in myself that Patrick would have a great skate and I didn’t feel panicked by it, but when I actually started to skate I stiffened up more than I expected to.”

Oda, who was forced to leave the rink during his free program at the Vancouver Olympics when the laces on his right skate snapped and ended up seventh, admitted trying to eliminate self doubt is an ongoing challenge.

“I blew it at Skate Canada and even though I attempted to turn things around at Skate America it happened again. I tried not to think about anything when I was skating (on Saturday).”

“You just want to get on the rink, get the job done and go home but when you are under pressure like that it is difficult.”

Takahiko Kozuka placed third on Saturday, while reigning world champion Takahashi’s error-littered free skate saw him finish fourth.

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