“Each day has been fulfilling, and after these 8 months break, I’m feeling energetic and also gained some muscles.” Yuma Kagiyama about his first competitions of the season
Yuma Kagiyama about his first competitions of the season and return after a long break.
source: nikkansports.com dd. 11th August 2023
Yuma Kagiyama (20), the 2022 Beijing Olympic silver medalist, made his competitive comeback after 229 days. He competed in the Short Program (SP) and finished in 4th place with a score of 70.98 points.
This was his first competition since the Japanese Nationals at the end of last year. Skating to the same SP music “Believer” as last season, he began his performance but fell on the opening quadruple salchow. “I was a bit anxious from around the point where I failed the axel during the 6-minute warm-up.” While he managed to land the triple lutz-triple loop combination, the third jump, a triple axel, also ended in a fall.
Despite the mistakes, he did not lose his spirit. “Each day has been fulfilling, and after these 8 months, I’m feeling energetic. I’m really happy to be able to participate in the planned competitions like this, so I want to do my best.” Occasionally smiling, he looked at his progress in recovering from the left ankle injury.
During the period when he couldn’t compete, he focused on strengthening his upper body core. He reduced body fat and increased muscle mass. People around him commented, “You’ve gained some muscles.” “I’ve been building the body I need, so I’m not worried about my condition at all,” he spoke with a bright voice.
“Using the reflections from today, my goal is to perform the salchow and axel without hesitation and with full commitment. Besides the quadruple salchow, I’m thinking of trying the (quadruple) toe loop after a long time. Since it’s the first competition, I want to give it my all without overthinking.”
In the free program Yuma Kagiyama scored 140.49 points and finished in 3rd place with a total score of 211.47 points.
An unexpected incident occurred during his performance, where he experienced cramps in his left calf. He remarked, “I was slapping my leg, thinking ‘Get better!'” Although the pain didn’t subside, he managed to skate through to the end.
He mentioned that such incidents occasionally happen during practice, but the cause of the cramp on this day remains unclear. While speculating whether it was due to exhaustion from official practice or dehydration, he expressed the desire to prevent a recurrence, stating, “When I was called to take the ice, I had a suspicious feeling. From now on, I want to be more aware of small changes in my body.”
After making a comeback from his left ankle injury and finally reaching the competition, his condition has been improving. He declared, “My jumps have been getting better during practice. I’m always ready for two quadruple jumps.” He mentioned his rivals, Shun Sato and Kao Miura, saying, “I want to catch up to them. I also want to perform the salchow and toe loop, and express the program well.”
Kao Miura took 1st place with a score of 272.51 points, and Shun Sato secured 2nd place with 235.78 points.
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