Kozuka earns bronze at Cup of China; Murakami places fourth


Takahiko Kozuka finished third on Saturday at the Cup of China, the third of six events in the Grand Prix series.

Kozuka, who was third after the short program, was fifth in the free skate, but still managed to move up to a podium finish with 226.92 points, behind winner Yan Han of China (245.62) and runner-up Maxim Kovtun of Russia (238.65).

In the women’s competition, Kanako Murakami was fourth and compatriot Haruki Imai sixth.

Despite his hardware, Kozuka blasted his performance.

“I made too many mistakes,” he said. “My timing wasn’t there on my jumps.

“All I can do is go back and practice until I’m confident and can say I’m 100 percent sure.”

Murakami, the 2013 Four Continents bronze medalist, was fourth in both the women’s free skate and short program. Russian 15-year-old Anna Pogorilaya took the gold medal with 178.96 points, while compatriot Adelina Sotnikova and short program winner was second. Italy’s Carolina Kostner was third. Pogorilaya who won on her Grand Prix debut.

“It’s frustrating because my jumps weren’t very good,” Murakami said. “I think my artistic impression was better than at the Japan Open (in October).

“I was nervous on my jumps in the latter half of the program, and was thinking too much.”