Figure Skating

Hanyu ‘determined’ to qualify for Grand Prix Final

Kyodo

World and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who suffered injuries in a collision during a free-skate warm-up earlier this month, says he is determined to make the Grand Prix Final after deciding to compete at the NHK Trophy, which begins on Friday.

Hanyu had a sickening clash with Chinese skater Yan Han during the official practice before rebounding to win the silver medal at the Cup of China. The 19-year-old will book a spot in the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona in December if he can finish in the top three at the NHK Trophy.

“I am determined to compete in the final,” Hanyu told a news conference after practice on Thursday. I am not in perfect shape and my energy levels have dropped, but I want to put on the best performance I can.”

Hanyu sat out Thursday’s morning practice session but nailed a quad toeloop and a triple axel, giving the impression that he has recovered from the injuries he sustained in Shanghai on Nov. 8.

The Grand Prix Final defending champion suffered a contusion to his left thigh and bruises to his head and chin and was expected to be out for two to three weeks due to his injuries after returning to Japan on Nov. 9.

“(At one point) I felt so much pain I could not sleep and it was really hard to walk,” said Hanyu. “I did think of pulling out (of the NHK Trophy) and it is something close to a miracle that I am here.

“My intentions of wanting to go to the Final were respected and I was allowed to carry on skating (at the Cup of China). I didn’t want that to count for nothing.”