Japan Teen Kihira Skates To NHK Trophy Win On GP Debut
Zeeshan Mehtab 3 days ago Sat 10th November 2018 | 10:09 PM
Japanese schoolgirl Rika Kihira marked her Grand Prix figure skating debut with a stunning victory at the NHK Trophy on Saturday.
"I still can't believe it," said the Osaka-based Kihira, who was fifth after Friday's short programme.
"I've literally never been so happy in my life. I want to keep this memory forever." Kihira opened with a breath-taking triple axel, triple toe-loop combination as fellow Japanese Satoko Miyahara took silver with a total of 219.47 points and former world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia bronze on 219.
"I couldn't land a triple axel yesterday," said Kihira after becoming the first Japanese to lift the NHK Trophy since Miyahara in 2015.
"I went into practice this morning determined to get it right."Russians Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert completed back-to-back victories after winning in Helsinki last week as they won the pairs competition to clinch their spot at next month's Grand Prix Final in Vancouver.
Their season's best 140.66 points in the free skate gave them a total of 214.14 as China's Peng Cheng and Jin Yang took silver (207.24) and Americans Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim bronze (190.49).