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Miura Kao dominates in Calgary to claim world junior gold

Miura Kao was in a league of his own as he secured the men’s title at the 2023 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Calgary on Saturday (4 March).

The 17-year-old claimed the Four Continents title in Colorado Springs three weeks ago, and that experience served him well on a night where nerves got the better of several skaters.

In his skate to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, Miura landed two triple Axels, two quad toe loops and a quad Salchow for a free skate score of 179.63 and a winning total of 264.74, 44 points clear of the field.

Yoshioka Nozoma was only seventh after the short program, but his fine skate to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack was good enough for second on the day and third overall.

Naoki Rossi repeated his third place from the short program to take combined silver ahead of Italy’s Junior Grand Prix Final winner Nikolaj Memola.

But the day belonged to Miura who would surely have gone to this month’s World Championships in Saitama had it not been for a lacklustre short program at December’s All-Japan Championships.

Miura a class apart in men’s free

Yoshioka laid down the gauntlet with the last skate of the penultimate group, just about hitting his opening quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and then fighting to land a quad toe loop and a triple Axel.

Those elements helped him to a score of 141.35 which was only surpassed by Miura at the end.

The nerves were clear to see in the warm-up for the final group and Andreas Nordeback of Sweden was one of those who struggled, slipping from fifth after the short program to 11th overall.

USA’s Lucas Broussard, lying in fourth place overnight, under-rotated and fell on his opening quad toeloop before doing the same on a triple Axel to wreck his medal hopes. He had to settle for ninth on the day and seventh overall.

Italy’s Junior Grand Prix Final winner Nikolaj Memola, sixth after the short program, was below his best but fourth on the day saw him move up to fourth place.

Rossi landed two triple Axels and showed off some exceptional spins in his free skate, but a couple of sketchy jumps including a double loop saw him leave some points on the ice.

However, his artistry was well-rewarded and the Swiss scored a personal best of 141.22 to go second on the day, behind Yoshioka, but ahead of the Japanese overall with a total of 220.68.

Wesley Chiu gave the home crowd reason to cheer with his opening triple Axel-double toe loop combination, but his hopes of closing the four-point gap on Miura were extinguished when he doubled what should have been a quad loop.

The runner-up from the short program just about landed a second triple Axel, and he had to fight hard on the rest of his jumps with the judges making a number of deductions.

He scored 133.32 for eighth on the day and fifth overall.

Earlier, Czech ice dancers Katerina Mrazkova and Daniel Mrazek added the free dance to their rhythm dance victory on Friday.

The siblings again got the better of the Republic of Korea’s Lim Hannah and Quan Ye, with Canada’s Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont completing the free dance podium.

The home duo, lying fourth after the rhythm dance, pipped Britain’s Phebe Bekker and James Hernandez by just 0.06 to take overall bronze.

Credit: OOlympics 

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