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Figure skating: Sota Yamamoto, Kaori Sakamoto secure wins at Skate Canada


Japan’s Sota Yamamoto won Skate Canada on Saturday for his first victory in the ISU Grand Prix figure skating series, while compatriot and two-time reigning women’s world champion Kaori Sakamoto also triumphed.

Yamamoto, top after Friday’s short program, came third in the free skate with 168.86 points but his overall tally of 258.42 was enough to edge compatriot Kao Miura, who had a 177.09 on the day to finish with 257.89 at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver.

Japan’s Sota Yamamoto performs in the men’s free program at Skate Canada, the second event of the ISU Grand Prix figure skating series, in Vancouver on Oct. 28, 2023. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP/Kyodo)

“I’ve been working to win the title. I’m really happy,” said Yamamoto, who finished second at the Grand Prix Final last year.

The 23-year-old landed his quad salchow, quad-triple toeloop combination and quad toeloop at the start before falling with a triple axel.

“I have room for improvement both with the performance and score,” he said. “I want to overcome the challenges and raise my level further.”

Italian Matteo Rizzo finished third on 246.01, followed by Japan’s Kazuki Tomono on 245.12.

Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto performs in the women’s free program at Skate Canada, the second event of the ISU Grand Prix figure skating series, in Vancouver on Oct. 28, 2023. (Kyodo)

Sakamoto, also top after the short program, secured an overwhelming win with 226.13 points after dominating the free skate with 151.00 points.

“I could perform the way I had pictured, so I’m relieved,” said the 23-year-old after claiming her fourth win on the circuit with a flawless performance.

“I could skate under a sense of urgency. I’m really happy to have gone above 150 (in the free skate),” she said.

Compatriot Rino Matsuike finished third in both the short program and free skate to finish in the same place overall on 198.62 for her first podium finish. Kim Chae Yeon of South Korea was second with 201.15.


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