The seven beautiful warriors of the golden era of women’s figure skaters, the “dignified rising stars shining in the rink” who “practiced in a backwater formation”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The seven beautiful warriors of the golden era of women’s figure skaters, the “dignified rising stars shining in the rink” who “practiced in a backwater formation”.

The best shots of the first half of the season, which fascinated fans, are now on view!

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Yona Yoshida (18), the new ace candidate who dances like a crane】Building on the momentum of her victory at the GP Series in China, she placed 3rd at the GP Finals. Her crane-inspired free skate performance has become well-known.

At the All-Japan Figure Skating Championships held until December 24 last year, the women’s singles representatives for the Four Continents Championships to be held from the end of January and the World Championships in March were decided.

Rising star Hana Yoshida (18/Kinoshita Academy), who made a splash in the first half of this season by taking 3rd place in her first appearance at the Grand Prix (GP) Finals, is expected to be the next ace candidate after Kaori Sakamoto (23/ Sysmex).

Professional skater Takahito Mura, who has competed in three World Championships himself, explains the appeal of Yoshida.

Her quick and precise steps are her strong point. Her dynamic triple axel, which she jumps big from the speed, is also a big weapon of hers.

Hina Yoshida (18)
Dancing like a crane, a new ace candidate

Momone Chiba (18) started competing at “Ice Rink Sendai” where Shizuka Arakawa and Yuzuru Hanyu were born. Overcoming asthma, she will compete in her first World Championships.

Like Yoshida, Mone Chiba (18), who also belongs to Kinoshita Academy, has her first ticket to the World Championships in her hands.

She is also a member of the Kinoshita Academy. “I had a bad first half of this season’s GP series due to asthma,” she said. However, she was able to finish as runner-up at the All-Japan Championships, where she said, “I trained like I was running out of water. I have the impression that his jumps were out of order in the beginning of this season, perhaps due to the effect of moving his training base from Sendai to Kyoto just before the season, but he has corrected it in All-Japan. His smooth, flowing skating is also his strength,” said a reporter from the sports department of a national newspaper.

This season’s World Championships will be very important for her qualification to the Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo in ’26.

The slots for the Olympics will be allocated based on the results of the ’25 World Championships. It is imperative that we send three athletes to the ’25 Games in order to win a slot. If the top two finishers at this year’s World Championships finish with a total ranking of 13 or below, they will receive three slots in the crucial 2013 World Championships, which they have held since 2007. The fate of the Japanese team will depend on whether Sakamoto, who is aiming for a third consecutive title, will be followed by Yoshida and Chiba.

Rinka Watanabe (21)
Late-blooming Cinderella Girl

Rinka WATANABE (21) is a rare late bloomer in figure skating, selected for the first time at age 20. She overcame a serious injury on her right knee, and has a strong mental strength.

Some of the athletes who narrowly missed the World Championships also fought hard. The first of these was last year’s World Championships representative, Rinka Watanabe (21, TOKIO Incarami/Hosei University).

She placed 6th in All-Japan, but has shown signs of recovery, including a triple axel, which she did not show in the GP series. There are high hopes for her comeback at the Four Continents Championships, where she has qualified for the competition.

Rion Sumiyoshi (20)
Her long arms and legs look good on the ice.

Rinon Sumiyoshi (20), with her skating style that uses her knees and ankles well, is expected to perfect her quadruple.

Rinon Sumiyoshi (20, Oriental Bio/Meiji University), who competed in the GP Finals for the first time, made a great leap forward this season, although she did not make the podium.

She has been practicing her quadruple toeloop, her big move, with a lot of confidence to succeed in it. She has a graceful jump without effort, and her performance with her long arms and legs is also attractive,” said Mura.

Koena Uezono (13)
A next-generation star with a graceful performance

Korina Uezono (13) started competing when she was 4 years old, after watching Mao Asada’s ice show. She won the Rookie of the Year Award at the All-Japan Championships.

The biggest impact at All-Japan was made by 13-year-old UEZONO Rena (LYS), who placed 4th. It was only her first year in the junior category, but she successfully qualified for the World Junior Championships. A member of the Japan Skating Federation said, “Until last year, Uezono was a Novice (elementary school student).

It is hard to believe that she was a Novice skater until last year, but she is so expressive. She has become a star candidate, not being intimidated on the big stage. She is planning to incorporate a triple axel into her routine next season, so we are looking forward to her future.”

Mao Shimada (15)
The first Japanese skater to achieve this feat in history!

Mao Shimada (15) won the last World Junior Championships at the age of 14 years and 4 months, the youngest Japanese skater ever.

At the World Junior Championships, Mao Shimada (15, Kinoshita Academy) is aiming to become the first Japanese skater to win back-to-back World Junior Championships.

She is aiming to become the first Japanese skater to win back-to-back World Junior Championships,” said Mao Shimada, 15, of Kinoshita Academy. If she can jump triple Axel and quadruple toeloop in FS with a good ranking, she will be much closer to her second consecutive win.

Her performance was full of adult charm.

Maro YAMASHITA (21) has been achieving results in major domestic competitions such as National Athletics Championships and West Japan Championships. This season, she finished 8th in the All-Japan Championships.

Although not selected as one of the federation’s athletes, Chukyo University’s Maro Yamashita (21), who came in second in the short program at the All-Japan Championships, also made her presence felt. As Mura mentioned above, “She had been training at the same rink for a while.

I have watched her for many years, as we used to train at the same rink, and she already had an air about her from the age of 16, when she turned senior. She is petite, but she has a feminine sexiness in her movements and facial expressions. Although she has been away from international competitions for the last two years, she has proven that she has world-class ability in the top ranks of the All-Japan team.”

The golden era of the All-Japan team has arrived once again, as the rising stars shine brightly and dazzlingly.

Aina Kawabe (19)
Burning for revenge for the Olympics

Aina Kawabe (19) has been plagued by an injury to her right instep this season, but she competed in the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2010, and her ability is well recognized by all.

From the January 19, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kyodo News, Jiji Press, Fortximoto

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