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Figure Skating

Komatsubara, Koleto Clinch Ticket to Worlds by Placing 8th at Four Continents

In Shanghai, the duo earned the top score among Japan's three teams entered in the ice dance competition at the Four Continents.

Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto locked up a berth for the worlds team with their eighth-place finish in the ice dance competition at the Four Continents Championships in Shanghai on Sunday, February 4.

The Japanese duo prevailed in the de facto competition set by the Japan Skating Federation that the highest-scoring team of the three entered in China would get the spot for March's World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal.

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, the 2022-23 season's world bronze medalists, finished first with a total score of 214.36 points, ahead of compatriots Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen, who tallied 207.54 in second. Christina Carreiera and Anthony Ponomarenko of the United States came in third on 194.14. 

Komatsubara and Koleto, who were part of Japan's silver-medal winning team at the Beijing Olympics, were in sixth place after the rhythm dance, but slid to eighth after the free dance where they notched 111.41. Despite the drop, they still outscored the teams of Utana Yoshida and Masaya Morita and Azusa Tanaka and Shingo Nishiyama.

Komatsubara and Koleto, who train in Montreal, skated to "Loving You" and finished with 182.70, which placed them well ahead of their fellow Japanese competitors.

Yoshida and Morita, who are skating together for the first season, scored 166.13 to finish 10th, while Tanaka and Nishiyama, also competing together for the first season, had 157.63 and placed 11th out of 16 pairs.

Four Continents
Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto in action in the free dance on February 4 at the Four Continents. (KYODO)

Koleto, Komatsubara Shares Insights on Four Continents 

"The other day (in the rhythm dance), we wanted to get 70 points," Koleto was quoted as saying. "We worked pretty hard these past three years. For the free [skate], we wanted to get more than 110. We felt like we could do it. This time, we are not satisfied but we feel like we did a good performance."

Komatsubara cited more demanding content as a reason for their score.

"Compared to last season, the transitions were even more difficult," Komatsubara noted. "That's both a risk, and also if you're able to do it, it's a great plus. It's a layout which can increase your PCS (program component score) a lot. It's hard to tell, but I think the differences from last season led to our score."

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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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