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Rika Kihira leads ladies at Japanese Nationals

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2019-20 Japanese Figure Skating Championships

Ladies’ Short Program

Rika Kihira took first in the Ladies’ Short Program at the  2019-20 Japanese Figure Skating Championships on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan. Satoko Miyahara currently sits in second, followed by Kaori Sakamoto.

Kihira stepped out of her opening triple Axel in her “Breakfast in Baghdad” routine, but landed a solid triple flip-triple to and triple loop. The defending silver medalist earned a level 4 on two spins and a level 3 on her footwork to score 73.98 points.

Miyahara underrotated the back end of a triple Lutz-triple toe, as well as a triple loop, in her Egyptian Disco routine, but landed a very good double Axel and earned a level 4 on her flying camel spin. The bronze medalist from last season still earned the highest program component score of the ladies, and was awarded 70.11 points.

Sakamoto underrotated the back end of a triple flip-triple toe, but landed a very good double Axel and triple loop in her routine to “No Roots” by Alice Merton. The defending champion also earned a level 4 on two spins and sits in a very close third with 69.95 points.

Wakaba Higuchi underrotated and stepped out of the back end of a triple Lutz-triple toe and received an edge call on her triple flip, but showed two very good level 4 spins and footwork. The 18-year-old from Tokyo is currently in fourth with 68.10 points.

Mako Yamashita gave a clean performance to “Una voce poco fa” which featured a triple Lutz-triple toe, double Axel, and triple loop. The 16-year-old from Nagoya also showed three level 4 spins, however the grades of execution (GOE) were not as high as that of the top competitors. She sits in fifth with 66.64 points.

Marin Honda of Kyoto is in sixth (65.92), followed by Tomoe Kawabata (65.53) and Yuka Nagai (64.78).

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Pairs’ Short Program

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara are the only pairs team competing at this event this season. The newly-form team, who is coached by Meagan Duhamel in Canada, scored 53.95 points with their “Wayward Sisters” routine. Still finding their rhythm, the team had a fall on the triple toes and throw triple Lutz.