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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
25 Mar 2023

NextImg:Japan's Uno Retains World Title to Delight Home Crowd

SAITAMA, Japan—Shoma Uno retained his men’s figure skating world title with a nerveless free skate on home ice on Saturday after Madison Chock and Evan Bates overcame a fall in their free dance to win their first ice dance world title.

After overcoming an ankle injury this week, Uno was not at his best but landed four clean quads in his “Air on the G String”/”Mea tormenta, properate” routine to earn 196.51 points and finish with an overall score of 301.14 points.

Uno, who led rising American star Ilia Malinin after Thursday’s short program, dropped to the ice and lay on his back as he soaked up a standing ovation from the delighted home crowd at the Saitama Super Arena.

“Today’s performance was far from perfect, but I did everything I can do at this moment and it took everything I had,” Olympic bronze medallist Uno, 25, said after becoming the first Japanese man to retain a world title.

“There were many shaky jumps. These past two weeks have been very tough for me, I was in bad shape … I have not done well in international competitions at home in the past and I’m really glad I finally came through. It means a lot.”

Cha Jun-hwan, 21, became the first South Korean man to win a world medal after setting personal best scores of 196.39 and 296.03 to take silver.

Malinin, 18, landed the first quadruple axel at a world championship but errors on his five other attempted quads meant he finished third with 288.44 points.

Uno’s victory capped a golden week for Japan, after Kaori Sakamoto retained her women’s title and Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the country’s first pairs gold.

Earlier, Chock and Bates were crowned world champions in their 10th appearance in the competition with an overall score of 226.01 after they topped the free dance with 134.07 points while performing to “Souffrance”/”Les Tectoniques.”

The American pair finished more than three points ahead of Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri after Friday’s rhythm dance and hung on to their lead to win gold despite Chock tumbling midway through their program.

Reigning European champions Guignard and Fabbri took silver with 219.85 points while Grand Prix Final champions Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada won bronze with 217.88 points.

Chock and Bates, who bagged the Four Continents title on home ice last month, have previously won one silver and two bronze world medals.

“We’ve been pursuing this goal for so many years and it just happened 10 seconds ago,” Bates said. “It’s really hard to put this moment into words and what it means to us, I’m so happy.”