A roundup of sports headlines you may have missed from the past week or so:
- Two-time defending Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu delivered a nearly flawless free skate Saturday to win his first national championship in five years, having skipped this year’s Grand Prix series due to concerns about coronavirus infection. Meanwhile, Rika Kihira nailed a quad in her free skate to overcome a powerful challenge from Kaori Sakamoto and capture her second straight women’s crown.
- Badminton world No. 1 Kento Momota won the All-Japan championships on Sunday to complete the first step of his comeback, nearly a year after suffering serious injuries in a car crash. Momota came from behind to beat world No. 11 Kanta Tsuneyama in Tokyo, marking a successful return from the accident that left him fearing his career might be over after fracturing an eye socket.
- As noteworthy in 2020 for her activism away from the tennis court as her success on it, Naomi Osaka has been selected by The Associated Press as its Female Athlete of the Year. Billie Jean King, a 12-time Grand Slam singles title winner and a pioneering advocate for decades, praised Osaka for positioning “herself as a leader not only in women’s tennis but in all of sports and a force for change in our society.”
- The Texas Rangers have signed pitcher Kohei Arihara to a $6.2 million, two-year contract. Arihara spent six years with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the Pacific League. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga, however, is staying put despite his desire to move to the majors, after his team refused to post him — handing him a reported ¥100 million ($967,000) raise instead.
- Yuki Tsunoda will race for Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri next season to become Formula One’s first Japanese driver since 2014, the team announced earlier this month. Tsunoda finished third in this year’s Formula Two Championship with seven podiums and victories in two feature races and a sprint race. The 20-year-old will be the first driver born in or after 2000 to race for an F1 team.