Kim Yelim she showed herself to be a force in figure skating with a victory at the NHK Trophy in Sapporo on Saturday (November 19).
It was driven by a 19-year-old from Korea Sakamoto Kaori by more than four points after Friday’s short program.
The reigning world champion of Japan looked more like usual as she rode the free skate, but that wasn’t enough to change the leader overnight as Kim bettered her second place at the Grand Prix de France two weeks ago.
After an extremely flat short program, Sakamoto showed some of her trademark speed and dynamism in the slow.
She wasn’t perfect in the routine for “Elastic Heart” and “Lovation” and was visibly furious when she popped out of her closing triple loop, but her score of 133.80 was the best score of the day with a total of 201.87.
Kim was last after Sakamoto took the lead.
The Seoul native had a fairly clean skate until the “Summer of 42” until a triple flip was followed by a fall in the same jump – which was supposed to be part of a combination – which meant a repetition deduction.
But high component scores and a spectacular late Ina Bauer helped Kim earn a score of 132.27 for free and a winning total of 204.49.
Following Sakamoto’s victory at Skate America, the two women will compete in next month’s final of the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix in Turin.
Sumiyoshi is last on the podium
After a disappointing short program, she placed ninth overnight, winner of Skate Canada Watanabe Rink got back on track for free.
Her opening triple Axel wasn’t the smoothest, although she did hit it, and the triple Lutz fired at the end cost her valuable points. But it was a better performance for the 19-year-old who scored 129.71 for a total of 188.07 which ultimately left her in fifth place.
Watanabe led until the final four skaters from the USA Aubrey Shin she dances really well and scores extra points for her combination jumps in the second half of her routine.
Shin scored 123.13 for free and her total score of 189.00 put her ahead of Watanabe, which shattered the Japanese competitor’s hopes of reaching the Grand Prix Final.
Lying third night Sumiyoshi Rion she fell hard while trying to open the quad toeloop but managed to do it behind her and did a great free skate.
The only other blemish was a tired fall on her final triple Salchow when she scored a 125.11 for an overall score of 193.12 and her second Grand Prix podium of the season after her third Grand Prix de France.
Sumiyoshi and Watanabe will be keeping a nervous eye on events at the Espoo Grand Prix in Finland next week to see if they join Kim, Sakamoto and American Isabella Levito in Turin.
Women’s NHK Trophy overall results:
1. Kim Jelim (KOR) 204.49 (72.22+132.27)
2. Sakamoto Kaori (Japan) 201.87 (68.07+133.80)
3. Sumiyoshi Rion (JPN) 193.12 (68.01+125.11)
4. Audrey Shin (US) 189.00 (65.87+123.13)
5. Watanabe Rinka (Japan) 188.07 (58.36+129.71)
6. Ji Seoyeon (KOR) 184.14 (62.92+121.22)
7. Niina Petrokina (EST) 180.29 (58.81+121.48)
8. Wi Seoyeong (KOR) 176.74 (61.06+115.68)
9. Starr Andrews (US) 174.06 (64.13+109.93)
10. Olga Mikutina (YEARS OLD) 173.36 (56.95+116.41)
11. Amber Glenn (US) 169.36 (52.04+117.32)
12. Eva-Lotta Kiibus (EST) 162.37 (48.56+113.81)
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