• Kyodo

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Three-time world champion Mao Asada has pulled out of February’s Four Continents Championships, the Japan Skating Federation announced Friday.

Mao, who is completing her first season since sitting out the 2014-2015 season, will skip the event in Taipei in order to focus on the world championships in Boston, beginning March 28. Her place in Taipei will be taken by Kanako Murakami.

The 25-year-old Mao finished sixth in December at the Grand Prix Finals, where she was battling gastroenteritis. She followed that by finishing third in the national championships. She had hoped to use the Four Continents to regain her competition fitness while improving her world rankings.

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