It appears three-time world champion Mao Asada will not end her career with a 12th-place finish at the Japanese Championships.
Asada said she will stick with her plan to compete next season after her worst result in 14 career nationals appearances over the weekend, according to Japanese media.
“I wasn’t able to put together my best performances in either the short program or the free, so there’s a lot of frustration,” Asada said, according to Kyodo News.
Asada, now 26 years old, has been competing at senior nationals since she was 12. She finished third or higher in her last 11 nationals appearances. Before this year, her last time off the podium was in 2003, when she was eighth at the age of 13.
Asada, reportedly dealing with a left knee injury this year, saw an awful season bottom out in Osaka over the weekend.
Over two programs, she fell twice, singled two jumps and had her patented triple Axel downgraded in the free skate. She was eighth after the short program and 12th-best in the free skate.
Asada ended up 40.45 points behind Satoko Miyahara, who captured her third straight national title and earned one of three berths for the world championships. Wakaba Higuchi and Mai Mihara will join Miyahara at worlds in Helsinki in three months, according to Japanese media.
Asada also had her worst Grand Prix season in the fall, finishing sixth at Skate America in October and ninth at Trophée de France in November.
Asada took Olympic silver in 2010 and world titles in 2008, 2010 and 2014.
Shoma Uno won the men’s national title with Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu sidelined by the flu. Uno, Hanyu and Keji Tanaka were named to the world championships team, according to Japanese media.
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