Published on March 22, 2023 at 1:57 p.m.
The world figure skating championships kicked off this Wednesday in Japan, with the short programs in the couples and women’s categories. The French have been more or less successful. On the men’s side, reigning world champion Shoma Uno suffered an injury in training.
Let’s go for the 112th World Figure Skating Championships! The competition, which takes place without the Russians for the second year in a row, which obviously changes a lot of things in this sport where this country dominates, began this Wednesday in Saitama, a Japanese city which hosts the Worlds for the third time in nine years (after 2014 and 2019). And it was the short programs in the couples and women’s categories that were on the menu. In front of their audience, Riyu Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won this program, where they skated to the famous music “You’ll never walk alone” (in a version performed by Elvis Presley), fairly well ahead of the reigning American world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier. The Italians Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii complete the provisional podium, before the free program to be held on Thursday. On the French side, two couples were present on the Saitama ice rink, and they finished among the top twenty, which will allow them to participate in the free program. Eighth at the Montpellier Worlds last year, Camille and Pavel Kovalev, as a couple in the city and on the ice, took thirteenth place in this short program, to music by Billie Eilish. The young Oxana Vouillamoz (soon to be 19) and Flavien Giniaux (20) took sixteenth place, for their very first Worlds.
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As for the women’s competition, it was also a Japanese woman who won the short program, in the person of the reigning world champion Kaori Sakamoto. The soon to be 23-year-old skater, who played to music by Janet Jackson, beat South Korean Haein Lee and another Japanese, Mai Mihara. Only one Frenchwoman was aligned in this category: the 18-year-old Rémoise Lorine Schild, recently eleventh in the world junior championships. But the step was a little too high for her, and she finished 25th as the top 24 qualified for the free skate.. It came down to just three tenths of a point. On Thursday, the pairs free program and the men’s short program will be on the menu, with Kevin Aymoz and European champion Adam Siao Him Fa. On the other hand, reigning world champion Shoma Uno is uncertain. The Japanese injured his right ankle in a fall in training on Wednesday and is not sure he can hold his place.