• Kyodo


Rika Hongo stumbled on the ice and placed second on Thursday in the women’s figure skating short program at the Asian Winter Games.

Hongo, the lone Japanese in the women’s event, scored 60.98 points to finish behind South Korea’s Choi Da-bin, who had 61.30. China’s Zhao Ziquan was third with 58.90.

Skating to “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff, Hongo nailed her opening triple flip, but fell on the second part of a triple combination jump at Makomanai Ice Arena.

She completed a double axel and skated cleanly the rest of the way.

“I did not let my mistake on the jump bother me and remembered to be expressive in my program. I think that was a positive aspect,” Hongo said.

Hongo finished 10th at last week’s Four Continents Championships in South Korea, where she competed as a replacement for the injured Satoko Miyahara, who won the event in 2016.

“I am not tired (because of back-to-back events) and I have just come into this competition the same way I normally would,” Hongo said.

“Japan is the host nation of this event and so I want to deliver a good result as a representative of my country. I will do my best to bounce back in the free program.”

Hongo became the only Japanese left in the women’s event after Kaori Sakamoto pulled out on Wednesday after being struck down with the flu.

Sakamoto had been scheduled to compete in Sapporo in place of Miyahara who has suffered a hip injury.

In the ice dance, Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed placed second after the short dance with 64.74 points. China’s Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu led with 66.02, while their compatriots Chen Hong and Zhao Yan were third with 59.02.

Japan’s Ibuki Mori and Kentaro Suzuki were fifth with 48.44.

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