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Mao Asada vows to skate on after disastrous Japan Nationals

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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.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Genzebe Dibaba, 1500m world record holder, to miss world championships

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Genzebe Dibaba, the 1500m world record holder, will miss the world track and field championships that start next week due to a right foot injury, according to her agency.

The Ethiopian Dibaba lowered the 1500m world record to 3:50.07 in 2015, then won the world title a month later. Kenyan Faith Kipyegon relegated her to silver at the Rio Olympics. Dibaba was last in the 12-woman final at the 2017 Worlds, then withdrew from the 5000m at that meet, citing illness.

Dibaba’s absence further opens the door for Americans Shelby Houlihan (second-fastest in the world last year) and Jenny Simpson, the Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World silver medalist.

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan is fastest in the world this year and broke the mile world record on July 12. Hassan has range from 800m through 10,000m, and it’s not guaranteed she will contest the 1500m in Doha starting with the first round Oct. 2.

The event is already lacking Caster Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion who took bronze in her world 1500m debut in 2017. Semenya is excluded from races from 400m through the mile under the IAAF’s new rule capping testosterone in those events.

MORE: U.S. roster for track and field worlds

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How to watch, stream U.S. International Classic on NBC Sports Gold

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The U.S. International Figure Skating Classic gets underway in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend and NBC Sports Gold’s “Figure Skating Pass” will be live streaming all of the action.

The event is the third stop of the ISU’s Challenger Series and often serves as a warm-up for Grand Prix events for skaters, which start in October.

The men’s field is headlined by world bronze medalist and 2018 Olympian Vincent Zhou, joined by the 2019 world junior bronze medalist in the ladies’ event, Ting Cui. Reigning U.S. pairs champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc will make their season debut in Salt Lake. And in ice dance, Four Continents gold medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates are slated to compete.

Check out the schedule below (all times Eastern):

Friday, Sept. 19

8:30 p.m.: Pairs’ short program (LINK)

10 p.m.: Men’s short program (LINK)

Saturday, Sept. 20

4:30 p.m.: Rhythm dance (LINK)

6:15 p.m.: Ladies’ short program (LINK)

8:35 p.m.: Pairs’ short program (LINK)

10:30 p.m.: Men’s free skate (LINK)

Sunday, Sept. 21

6:25 p.m.: Free dance (LINK)

8:15 p.m.: Ladies’ free skate (LINK)

MORE: Vincent Zhou to attend Brown University, details new skating situation

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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