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    Japanese skaters in the lead after short program claims many favorites

    Xinhua | Updated: 2021-03-26 09:24
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    File photo of Hanyu Yuzuru (left) and Yuma Kagiyama. XINHUA

    STOCKHOLM -- Japanese skaters Hanyu Yuzuru and Yuma Kagiyama both scored more than 100 points in the men's short program in the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2021 in Stockholm.

    Having landed two quadruple jumps, two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru scored 106.98 points, placing him slightly ahead of his 17-year-old compatriot.

    2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion Kagiyama, however, also had a splendid performance and improved his personal best by scoring a total of 100.96 in his senior worlds debut under the watchful eye of his coach and father - and two-time Olympian - Masakazu Kagiyama.

    "During practice, I had a hard time adjusting my jumps, but during the competition, I tried not to think about it. I just put everything I had into this program", Kagiyama Jr. said after his performance. "Of course I felt a little bit nervous, but I think I improved on being mentally strong during a competition. I got 100 points and I'm very proud of that."

    Favorite Nathan Chen did not fare as well after falling on his opening quad Lutz. "I made a big mistake right off the bat, which is, I wouldn't say unconventional, but something that doesn't normally happen to me", he said afterward. He is however still a contender, placed third with 98.85 points ahead of the free program.

    After making similar mistakes, Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno of Japan, 2019 bronze medallist American Vincent Zhou and China's Jin Boyang, a two-time world bronze medallist, ruined their chances.

    Zhou fell on his quad as well as triple lutz and did not even qualify for Saturday's event after finishing 25th.

    Uno crashed when performing his triple axel, while Jin fell on a quad lutz before botching the second jump in his combination. Uno is in sixth place, trailing the leader by 14 points, while Jin is 19th with 77.95 points.

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