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Juheon Lim Leads After Short Program at Osaka Junior Grand Prix; Shunsuke Nakamura is 2nd

Lim and Nakamura both got off to good starts in their short program routines in the Junior Grand Prix event at Kanku Ice Arena.

IZUMISANO, Osaka Prefecture ― Shunsuke Nakamura is in contention for the men's title after the short program on the first day of the Junior Grand Prix at Kanku Ice Arena on Thursday, September 14. 

Nakamura is a close second behind leader Juheon Lim of South Korea, and well-positioned to take the gold in Friday's free skate.

Lim is in first place with a score of 75.38 points, while Nakamura stands in second at 74.04. France's Francois Pitot is in third on 71.49.

Lim, who will turn 18 on September 22, is making his international debut here. He hit a nice triple axel in his skate to "Your Song" and earned level fours on two of his spins and step sequence.

Nakamura, also 18, got off to a good start in his performance to "El Conquistador," opening with a beautiful triple axel, followed by a solid triple lutz. However, he touched the ice on the landing of the front end of his planned triple flip/triple toe loop combination, causing him to only double the back end.

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Nakamura Seeking More Junior Grand Prix Success 

Nakamura, who made the podium in both of his JGPs in the 2022-23 season and finished fourth at the JGP Final, received just one level four on his spins and a level three on his step sequence. Despite the miscues, he is still in good shape for a medal.

"The first half was the most perfect performance I've ever had," Nakamura stated. "I've been receiving lower scores on my spins recently, so I'm going to brush up more and aim for a higher score in the free skate."

The 18-year-old Pitot, who finished second in the Bangkok JGP in August, also hit his triple axel and posted level fours on all of his spins and step sequence in his short program to "Separate Ways Stranger Things."

Junior Grand Prix
Seigo Tauchi in action at the Osaka Junior Grand Prix. (KYODO)

Tauchi, Mishima Struggle in Short Programs

It was a disappointing night for Japan's other two men, with Seigo Tauchi (62.33) placing 10th and Masaya Mishima (54.58) coming in 17th.

Tauchi, who fell on his triple flip/triple toe loop combo, said tension got the better of him at the outset of his program to "Cloak and Dagger" and "Fate of the Clockmaker."

"I started in the wrong opening position because I was a bit nervous," Tauchi confessed. 

He added, "I will aim to do better in the free skate."

Junior Grand Prix
Masaya Mishima skates in the men's short program at Kanku Ice Arena. (KYODO)

Mishima skated to "United" and was hit with an under-rotation on the back end of his planned triple flip/triple toe loop when he only landed a double. He also notched just a level two on two of his spins and step sequence.

"My body was stiff as it was my first international event," Mishima said. "I think I gradually regained my composure after landing the triple lutz."

Junior Grand Prix
Ice dancers Sara Kishimoto and Atsuhiko Tamura glide across the ice during their rhythm dance routine. (KYODO)

Leah Neset and Artem Markelov of the United States lead the ice dance following the rhythm dance with 67.37. Japan's Sara Kishimoto and Atsuhiko Tamura stand in fourth place with 56.97.

The Osaka JGP will continue on Friday with the women's short program in the afternoon, followed by the men's free skate.

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Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.


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