Golden Skate

Takeda Sticks to Seniors for 2007-08 Season

Japan's Nana Takeda performs to Tanguera by Mariano Mores for her short program at 2007 Skate Canada.

Tokyo’s Nana Takeda is a veteran of Japanese Nationals, having competed there seven times as a junior and three as a senior. In 2007, she placed first in juniors and seventh in seniors.

In 2006, Takeda won her first Junior Grand Prix (JGP) event in Romania (Miercurea Ciuc) and placed second at the JGP Chinese Taipei Cup. She was fifth overall at the JGP Final in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Takeda, who just missed the podium at the 2006 World Juniors Figure Skating Championships with a fourth place finish, did not do as well in 2007, placing ninth overall.

For the 2007-08 season, however, the student from Chiba plans to stick with the seniors.

She began with a silver medal at the Tokyo Figure Skating Championships, then finished sixth in her debut on the senior Grand Prix circuit at Skate Canada before taking the bronze at NHK Trophy.

Takeda, who stood in fifth place after the short program at NHK Trophy, placed third in the long and overall. She was stunned when she found out she had medalled.

“I was ready to go home,” said Takeda. “Only when I stood on the podium and saw the flag going up, did I realized that I had the bronze medal. I hope to skate well in the future to be able to step on to the podium again in a major competition like that.”

She began skating when she was five. “I saw Yuka Sato on television when she won the World Championships in Chiba,” Takeda recalled. “The next day I went with my mother to the ice rink to learn to skate.”

Last season, Takeda got to be on television herself when she skated in the exhibition for the World Championships when they were held in Japan.

Continuing with her sports history, Takeda related, “My mother played basketball but I didn’t try it. I was in gymnastics from the second grade to the sixth grade, and then I went to ballet and jazz dance classes for fun. For the last three years, I have been going to dance classes more seriously.” Takeda trains in Chiba with Koji Okajima six days a week for two hours a day and may spend as much as two additional hours off ice.

The 19-year-old landed her first triple toeloop at the age of ten and has since learned all of the triples. “I tried the triple Axel, but I got a pain in my hip,” she noted.

In her short program this season, Takeda is using a double Axel, a triple toeloop and a triple loop-double toeloop combination. For the long, her jumps include: a triple loop, a triple Salchow, a triple flip, a triple toeloop-double toeloop combination, a triple loop-double Axel sequence, a triple toeloop, and a double Axel-double toeloop-double toeloop combination (which is executed near the end of the program).

“I don’t have a triple Lutz in my program because I have been taking off on the wrong edge,” Takeda stated. “I have landed the Lutz in practice, but I am working more on my triple flip now. I’m not consistent in doing it with the music. I’m also working on the triple toe-triple toe and triple loop-triple toe. I hope to land them in the programs later this season. I also need to make my jumps more consistent and skate better in the short program.”

Nanami Abe choreographs her programs. For this season, Takeda is using Tanguera by Mariano Mores for the short program, and Otonal by Raul di Blasio for the long. “I used Otonal two years ago and really liked it, so I came back to it again this season,” Takeda said. “Since it is my first year in senior competition, I wanted music that I liked to do and that I was comfortable with. It was my favorite long program.”

Off ice, she enjoys dancing, playing video games, reading mystery books and comics, going to movies and watching American dramas on television, especially the show, 24. She keeps a turtle as a pet.

Takeda is in her first year of study at a university in Tokyo. She enjoys studying social sciences and languages. “I am studying sports science at the university,” she said. “I also want to do something in skating.”

But first she hopes to compete for the next two Olympics, and then do some skating shows.