• Kyodo


Kanako Murakami shrugged off ankle pain on Thursday to finish first in the women’s short program at the Four Continents Championships.

Murakami, who had been dealing with pain in her ankle from ill-fitting skates she’s been trying since December, will go into Saturday’s free skate with 64.73 points. China’s Le Zijun is second with 62.84, just ahead of Haruka Imai with 62.72.

“Although you can’t say I was in top shape, being able to pull things together is a confidence booster,” said Murakami, who had considered pulling out over issues with her new skates.

“I’m glad I decided to compete. I can still go faster and generate more spin,” added the former junior world champion, who is set to compete at next month’s Sochi Olympic Games.

Japanese 15-year-old Satoko Miyahara was fourth after the short program.

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