Ex-world champ Daisuke Takahashi finishes third in competitive return

Kyodo

Former figure skating world champion Daisuke Takahashi finished third in his competitive return at a regional competition in western Japan on Monday.

The Vancouver Olympic bronze medalist, competing in his first meet in four years, opened his free program with a triple flip-triple toe loop combination. But he fell while attempting a triple axel at the Kinki Championship.

“My feet stopped moving. Not having enough training time may have been the reason,” he said.

Having held the lead after Sunday’s short program, the 32-year-old Takahashi scored a total of 195.82 points for a third-place finish in the 10-man field at Amagasaki Sports Forest in Hyogo Prefecture.

He also booked a berth for next month’s western Japan championship, which doubles as a qualifier for the national championships in December.

“I have been spending quality time (since announcing my competitive return). I want to do more including the quad (jumps),” Takahashi said.

Twenty-year-old Kazuki Tomono, who was fifth at the 2018 world championship, won the title after finishing 10.98 points ahead of Takahashi.

Takahashi retired from competition in October 2014, saying he had been struggling to keep his motivation since before the Sochi Games earlier that year.

But he announced in July he would return to the ice after rethinking his decision following last year’s Japan national championships. He now aims to compete at the nationals.

Takahashi was Japan’s first male skater to win a world title at the junior and senior levels, a Grand Prix Final, and an Olympic medal.

The five-time national champion finished sixth at the 2014 Sochi Games, the year Yuzuru Hanyu, then 19 years old, captured his first Olympic gold.