Shoma Uno adds to Japanese glory in Grand Prix Final

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Japan's Shoma Uno celebrates finishing first of the Men's Free Skating program on December 10, 2022 at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Turin.

Japan’s Shoma Uno celebrates finishing first of the Men’s Free Skating program on December 10, 2022 at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Turin. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

World champion Shoma Uno added to his figure skating laurels on Saturday winning the Grand Prix Final to add to Japan’s victory in the pairs on Friday.

Uno, 24, had led after Thursday’s short program, confirmed his superiority in the free program to post a total of 304.46 points.

Compatriot Sota Yamamoto was second and America teenager Ilia Malinin jumped from fifth to third.

Uno, who spent a long time in the shadow of the icons Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen, who retired at the end of last season, added to the first world title he won in March in Montpellier and his victories in Skate Canada and the NHK Trophy this season.

“I didn’t particularly feel pressure just because I won the World Championship, but at this competition, especially during the Free Program, all the other skaters did so amazing that instead it motivated me to enjoy and do my best for my competition,” said Uno who set a personal best in the free skate with 204.47 points.

“In terms of the combination, I didn’t do the triple Axel-triple flip and the quad toe-triple toe today so the jumps I can improve for the upcoming competitions.”

Yamamoto was a fair way behind with 274.35 points, after scoring 179.49 on Saturday.

“I was able to skate very calmly,” Yamamoto said. “I am very happy that I was finally able to do as I practiced. I think that my happiness also affected my performance.”

Malinin, the 18-year-old American world junior champion, who has earned the nickname the ‘Quadgod’ because of his ability to land quadruple jumps, had made errors on his triples in the short program on Thursday.

On Saturday, he landed five quadruple jumps, including a quadruple axel, in his free program to finish on a total of 271.94 points.

He said he had surprised himself and after he finished he looked across at his father in disbelief as he scored 191.84 points for his routine.

“I didn’t understand what was going on, so I looked at him to see if this was real or not,” Malinin said.

“I guess I just believe in myself and believe in my training and just stay confident, just know that everything that I’ve done to practice, I’m able to pull it off.”

Uno’s victory came hot on the heels of Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara claiming a first pairs gold for Japan on Friday ahead of world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the United States.

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