• Kyodo


Three-time women’s world champion Mao Asada shone upon her return from a one-year sabbatical on Saturday, helping to boost Japan to victory in the Japan Open team competition.

“This was my best performance at a Japan Open,” said the 25-year-old Mao, who showed no signs of rust in executing her trademark triple axel and led the women’s side of the three-way team competition with 141.70 points.

The team of Asada, Satoko Miyahara, Shoma Uno and Daisuke Murakami topped the field at Saitama Super Arena with 607.62 as the host nation won the three-way competition for the seventh time. The North American team was second with Europe third.

Two men and two women from each team each skate a free program. Miyahara, who won silver at last season’s world championships, was runnerup to Mao with 134.67.

Although Mao truncated a three-jump combination in the latter portion of her program to two jumps, and her speed on the ice appeared slower, she was in absolute command throughout.

“I was able to control my emotions as I skated,” she said of her performance to music from ‘Madame Butterfly.’

“I’m an adult, I can’t keep on doing things as if I were a child.”

Uno led the men with 185.48, while world champions Javier Fernandez of Spain was second with 176.24. Murakami placed fifth.

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