Japan's Hanyu aims for redemption at team worlds
TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan performs during the exhibition show of the 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai on March 29, 2015. AFP PhotoOlympic gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu will carry Japan's hopes into the ISU World Team Trophy in Tokyo this week, determined to bounce back in front of home fans after an injury-plagued season.
Hanyu, men's individual champion at the Sochi Games last year, is nursing ankle problems and slipped to a disappointing second place behind Spain's Javier Fernandez in the World Championships in Shanghai last month.
The 20-year-old told the Yomiuri Shimbun this week that he had "failed" after managing only a silver medal.
"This season has felt like three years to me," he said, referring to surgery for a bladder problem in December and a sprained ankle that kept him from training until early March.
In Shanghai, Hanyu was unable to land a single quad jump in his free skate, making only two rotations on a salchow attempt, before falling badly on a toeloop.
Hanyu -- a hugely popular figure in skating-mad Japan -- is joined by women's World Championship silver medallist Satoko Miyahara in the eight-skater national line-up.
Five other teams -- Russia, US, Canada, France and China -- will join the hosts to compete in men's and women's singles, pairs and ice dance disciplines in four days of competition beginning on Thursday. The team with the best combined points total from the four disciplines will emerge victorious.
Teenagers Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Elena Radionova, who clinched the women's gold and bronze medals in Shanghai, will spearhead Russia's challenge.
Victory in Shanghai marked an incredible turnaround for the 18-year-old Tuktamysheva, who failed to make the Russian team for last year's Olympics after a miserable season.
"I am full of emotion right now. This is an amazing moment," she said following the win.
US hopes will rest on female skaters Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner, fourth and fifth respectively in Shanghai, and Jason Brown who just missed out on a world championship medal for the men.