Yuzuru Hanyu uncertain for Japanese Nationals

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, has been off the ice for more than one month with right ankle and knee injuries suffered in a practice fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

The Japanese Championships are next week. Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to the three-man Olympic team even if he misses nationals.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said Sunday, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 last Thursday, fell while attempting a quadruple Lutz and favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated during the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October. Chen is the only undefeated skater this season.

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