Saturday, February 23, 2019 | ePaper

Japan's Kihira captures Four Continents skating gold

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Japan's rising star Rika Kihira nailed a triple Axel in a scintillating free skate Friday to seize ladies' gold at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championship. The 16-year-old continued her stellar first season in the senior ranks as she rose from fifth after the short program with a free skate that garnered 153.14 points.
Her total score of 221.99 put her comfortably in front of Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan, who moved up from sixth place after the short program to take silver with a total of 207.46 points.
Japan's Mai Mihara was third with 207.12 points.
Kihira's victory continued a breakthrough season in 2018. She won two grand prix events-the Internationaux de France in Grenoble and the NHK Trophy in Hiroshima before upsetting reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Vancouver in December. Now she'll be aiming to cap the season with a victory at the World Championships in front of home fans at Saitama in March.

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