• Kyodo


Satoko Miyahara wrapped up her second straight women’s national title on Sunday, with three-time world champion Mao Asada finishing third in her first national championships since returning to competition this year.

The seventeen-year-old Miyahara, who won Saturday’s short program, finished with a total of 212.83 points on the final day of competition at the national championships at Makomanai Ice Arena.

The victory secured her a spot in next spring’s world championships in Boston, where she will be joined by Mao and Rika Hongo, who finished fourth.

In addition to men’s champion Yuzuru Hanyu, the Japan Skating Federation named men’s runnerup Shoma Uno to the team for the worlds, along with pairs winners Sumire Sudo and her Canadian partner, Francis Boudreau Audet.

“I had some difficult moments, but I want to do my best at the worlds,” Miyahara said.

“More and more, I want to add confidence and power in order to perform even better.”

Fourteen-year-old Wakaba Higuchi, who was third in the short program, finished runnerup with 195.35 points a year after taking the bronze at the nationals.

“I was able to put on my best performance of the season, and do everything I had been working on in practice. This has been a confidence boost,” said Higuchi, who will not be old enough to compete at worlds. “With next year in mind, I have identified some things I need to address.”

Mao leaped two spots in the final standings to third with 193.75 points after finishing the short skate in fifth place. She just barely edged out Rika Hongo (193.28), the short program runnerup.

“I made some mistakes, so I am not satisfied with this, but I did all I was capable of at this time,” said Mao. “I have to take this one step at a time. Now I get in more and more practice time so I can do better at the worlds.”

The ice dance was won by Chris Reed with new partner Kana Muramoto. Reed had won six national titles with his sister Cathy, who retired after last season.

The pairs’ competition was won by Sumire Sudo and her Canadian partner, Francis Boudreau Audet.

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