• Kyodo

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Satoko Miyahara will not defend her Four Continents championship or skate in this month’s Asian Winter Games due to a leg injury, the Japan Skating Federation announced Tuesday.

The three-time defending national champion informed the federation on Monday night of a stress fracture in her left hip that reportedly will take four weeks to heal.

The Four Continents will start next Thursday in Gangneung, South Korea, while the Asian Winter Games open Feb. 19 in Sapporo.

Miyahara is still planning to compete in the world championships in Helsinki starting on March 29. The worlds will determine the number of places awarded to each country at next year’s Pyeongchang Olympics.

“If she pushed herself she might do well (at the Four Continents and Asian Winter Games), but the world championships are what’s important,” said Hidehito Ito, chairman of the JSF’s figure skating committee.

In her place, the JSF will send Rika Hongo to the Four Continents and Kaori Sakamoto to Sapporo.

According to a source close to Miyahara, the 18-year-old has felt pain in the hip since December before the Grand Prix Finals, and has been limiting her practice recently.

“Right now I’m giving my undivided attention to my treatment, and I want to prepare as well as I can at the worlds where I hope to deliver a quality performance,” Miyahara said in a statement released by the JSF.

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