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ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships begins in Seoul

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships begins in Seoul

Posted February. 06, 2020 07:49,   

Updated February. 06, 2020 07:49


Korean figure skaters, including Cha Jun-hwan and You Young, will compete at the 2020 International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, which will run from Thursday at the Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul.

The goal is to win a first medal in 11 years. Kim Yu-na is the only Korean figure skater to win a medal at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships back in 2009 in Vancouver, Canada. After winning the gold medal in women’s singles event at the championships, Kim Yu-na won the Olympic gold medal the following year in Vancouver.

Skating on home ice does not necessarily mean it will give Korean skaters an edge. Choi Da-bin came in fifth at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017 held one year prior to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics at the Gangneung Ice Arena. It was the best finish among South Korean skaters who competed at the competition.

While Cha Jun-hwan and You Young have the best chance to win a medal at the Four Continents among Korean skaters, their biggest rivals are Japanese figure skaters.

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu is the favorite to win the gold medal in men’s singles discipline. Hanyu won a gold medal at the Olympics, World Championships, and Grand Prix Final but is yet to win a gold medal at Four Continents.

Cha will compete against Hanyu with his quadruple jumps. “I was so overzealous that I messed up at last year’s Four Continents. My goal for the competition is to focus on a clean performance,” said Cha. “I want to put on a good performance in front of Korean fans.”

The favorite to win in women’s singles discipline is Rika Kihira of Japan, whose personal best is 233.12, more than 15 points higher than You Young’s 217.49. “It is true that there is a gap between Kihira and I,” said You. “I trained with Kihira in Japan and learned a lot from her. I’ll think of her as a friendly rival and do my best at the competition.”

The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships was established in 1999 to provide skaters outside Europe with a similar competition to the European Figure Skating Championships. Figure skaters from Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania can participate in the annual competition.

This year’s Four Continents will begin with ice dancing at 11 a.m. on Thursday and close with men’s singles free programs at 3:25 p.m. on Saturday.

Kyu-In Hwang kini@donga.com