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Shoma Uno, Kaori Sakamoto win Japan figure skating titles; Yuma Kagiyama to miss worlds

Shoma Uno

KADOMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 25: Shoma Uno of Japan poses with his gold medal during day four of the 91st All Japan Figure Skating Championships at Towa Pharmaceutical RACTAB Dome on December 25, 2022 in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

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World champions Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto won the Japan Figure Skating Championships, while Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama placed eighth in a return from injury and will miss March’s world championships in Japan.

Uno, 25, earned his fifth national title by totaling 291.73 points between two programs, distancing training partner Koshiro Shimada by 39.17 points. Uno landed five clean quadruple jumps between his short program and free skate in Osaka.

Uno is undefeated in four competitions this season, posting the world’s top score by 24.09 points over American Ilia Malinin. His next major competition is worlds in Saitama in March.

Kagiyama, a 19-year-old who placed second at the Olympics and worlds last season, struggled with his jumps after missing the fall Grand Prix Series with left leg and ankle bone injuries, including a stress fracture to his fibula sustained in August.

Sakamoto, 22, notched her third national title in a competition that included the world’s top three women this season. She topped the short program and free skate with positive grades of execution on all of her elements.

Sakamoto tallied 233.05 points to beat training partner Mai Mihara, who had been undefeated this year, by 13.12.

Mao Shimada, the world’s top woman this season by best international score, was third. At 14, she is too young for March’s senior world championships. Due to an increasing age minimum, Shimada will not be eligible for major senior international events until after the next Olympics in 2026.

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, the world’s top pair this season, missed nationals due to delays and lost baggage while traveling from Canada, where they train. They were still named to the team for March’s worlds.

Daisuke Takahashi and Kana Muramoto won the ice dance. Takahashi, 36, retired from singles skating after his third Olympics in 2014, unretired in 2018, then switched to ice dance. It’s his first national title in 11 years.

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