Japanese Hanyu books Sochi berth

Japanese Hanyu books Sochi berth

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Japanese Hanyu books Sochi berth

Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu performs during the men’s single figure skating at the national championships in Saitama. Hanyu won the championships. AFP Photo

Grand Prix Final champion Yuzuru Hanyu recovered from a tumble to win the men’s title at the Japanese national figure skating championships, booking a spot at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

With a 9.88-point lead after the short program, Hanyu fell on his opening quadruple salchow but nailed his next element, a quadruple toe loop, as he skated to “Romeo and Juliet” by Nino Rota in Saitama on Dec. 22.

The 19-year-old earned 194.70 points in the free program for a total of 297.80, better than three-time world champion Patrick Chan’s world record of 295.27 set last month at the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris.

But Hanyu’s new mark will not be recognised by the International Skating Union as the national event is not sanctioned by the world body.

Hanyu beat Canadian Chan into second spot at the Grand Prix Final this month in the Japanese city of Fukuoka with a world record short programme score of 99.84 but on Saturday the university student bettered that with a whopping 103.10.

Tatsuki Machida, with two Grand Prix wins under his belt this season, finished second overall with 277.04 points and Takahiko Kozuka third with 264.81.

Daisuke Takahashi, 27, who won Olympic bronze and the world championship in 2010, finished fifth.

Olympic silver medallist Mao Asada, who took the women’s title in Fukuoka, was in first place after Sunday’s women’s short program with 73.01 points ahead of Akiko Suzuki (70.19) and Kanako Murakami (67.42).