Kim Jelim The Republic of Korea unexpectedly took the lead after a short women’s program in NHK trophy in Sapporo on Friday (November 18).
Kim was second in the Grand Prix de France two weeks ago, winning the Korean title last year.
The 19-year-old landed a triple Lutz combination and a triple toeloop followed by a double Axel and a triple flip on an evocative skate to Max Richter’s “Mercy” which earned her a season-best of 72.22 and gave her a big shot at next month’s Turin Grand Prix ISU in figure skating.
Skating last, world champion Sakamoto Kaori she was just below her brilliant best.
Performing on “Rock With U” and “Feedback” Janet Jackson, the 22-year-old – who won the first round of this year’s Grand Prix at Skate America – did well with the opening double Axel but less so with the triple Lutz.
She then under-spinned and took a step in the second half of her closing combination – a triple flip-triple toeloop – as she had to settle for second place on the day with a score of 68.07.
Sakomoto later said, “I just didn’t have the pace, the strength in my jumps. I can think of several reasons. I will continue it.
“I’m not as confident as last year. I couldn’t bring myself to. But with second place today, I’m done with that. I’ll regroup. I think everything will change for the better. What I couldn’t do today, I’ll try to do tomorrow and reverse the situation. “
Sakamoto Kaori during his short program at the 2022 NHK Trophy in Sapporo
Photo by REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Sakamoto is slightly ahead of the other Japanese Sumiyoshi Rion who posted a career-best short program to finish third.
After her third place finish in her senior GP debut at the Grand Prix de France, Sumiyoshi landed a double Axel, triple flip-triple Lutz and triple Lutz in a clean skate.
The 19-year-old Tokyo resident added nearly four points to her short program with Angers, scoring 68.01 from the judges.
It wasn’t a good day at the office for the Skate Canada winner Watanabe Rink which fell on her opening triple Axel and highlighted what should have been a triple loop late.
She scored just 58.36 points and ended the day in ninth place, meaning she needs something special in Saturday’s free skate if she wants to advance to the Grand Prix Final.
Audrey Shin rode clean and finished fourth with a score of 65.87 ahead of his American teammate and Skate Canada runner-up Starr Andrews (64.13).
Skate America bronze medalist Amber Glenn she had a day to forget placing her hand on the first half of her opening triple flip-triple toe loop combo before spinning too little and falling on her final jump element, a triple loop.
The 23-year-old Texan finished the day in 11th place with a score of 52.04.
Women’s NHK Trophy Short Program Results:
1. Kim Yelim (KOR) 72.22
2. Sakamoto Kaori (Japan) 68.07
3. Sumiyoshi Rion (JPN) 68.01
4. Audrey Shin (USA) 65.87
5. Starr Andrews (USA) 64.13
6. Ji Seoyeon (KOR) 62.92
7. Wi Seoyeong (KOR) 61.06
8. Niina Petrokina (EST) 58.81
9. Watanabe Rinka (JPN) 58.36
10. Olga Mikutina (YEARS OLD) 56.95
11. Amber Glenn (USA) 52.04
12. Eva Lotta Kiibus (EST) 48.56
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