With already two Japanese figure skaters winning at junior level at the recent Junior Grand Prix, Mie Hamada prepares to become the new mentor in figure skating, after the pupils grown up by Eteri Tutberidze have been excluded from international competitions.
Now the mentor is growing up a whole generation of talented and hungry for victories single skaters, with some first results already achieved with brilliant performances at the start of the Junior Grand Prix series.
Mao Shimada and Hana Yoshida won the gold medal at the first two stages, Ayumi Shibayami got silver, and Ikura Kushida got bronze. At the final in Torino, Hamada will be there with Nozomu Yoshioka for the men’s podium.
A clan of strong figure skaters performing at prestigious competitions is growing and is creating what appears to be Japan’s new dominance.
The Junior GP Final will see the podium dominated by Asian skaters with the first three skaters from Japan: Ami NAKAI (y 2008), Mao SHIMADA (y 2008) and Hana YOSHIDA (y 2005), followed by Korea, represented by Chaeyeon KIM (y 2006), Minsol KWON (y 2009) and Jia SHIN (y 2008).
On the men side, Nozomu Yoshioka (JPN) brought home another gold for Japan in what was his debut at the JP Junior Series. Yoshioka, who stood in second place following his Short Program to “Malaguena”, hit a triple Axel but struggled with the triple loop. Skating to “Pirates of the Caribbean”, the 18-year-old Skater landed a quad toe-double toe combination, another quad toe and five clean triples and totalled 219.68 points to move up to first place.
“Team Japan did very well and I tried my best as well,” Yoshioka said. At the fifth stage in Gdansk he concluded in fifth position, toalling 194.63 points and qualifying for the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Turin next December 8th to 11th 2022, together with other five skaters: Nikolaj MEMOLA (ITA), Takeru Amine KATAISE (JPN), Shunsuke NAKAMURA (JPN), Lucas BROUSSARD (USA) and Robert YAMPOLSKY (USA).