“I want to qualify for the World Championships in my home country” Yuma Kagiyama returns after an injury and will take part in the Japanese Nationals
Yuma Kagiyama returns after an injury and will take part in the Japanese Nationals.
Yuma Kagiyama, the 2022 Olympic silver medalist, returns to competition for the first time in nine months. He announced his intention to participate in the Japanese Nationals. He said that his left ankle, which he injured at the end of July, was on the verge of a stress fracture, so he missed the first half of this season, including the Grand Prix series. In the interview, he talked about what he learned from leaving the competitive ice for the first time and a new challenge such as the quadruple flip.
During the open practice at his base, Chukyo University, he did the quadruple salchow and triple axel. His new free program is “Reign In Your Black Eyes.” There was also a surprise, a quadruple flip. He was challenging his fourth quadruple jump following the toe loop, salchow, and loop.
“In July, I felt a severe pain in my left ankle during an ice show. This was the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life. But if I rest a little, I’ll be fine.” Yuma said. He was optimistic, but it didn’t work out that way. “It hurts not on the surface but inside. I can’t jump or glide.” He underwent an MRI examination and was diagnosed with a left talus fatigue bone disorder. He was on the verge of a stress fracture.
There was no concern about direct injury. Accumulation of competitive life. “I took it easily, saying, “Well, I’ll be in time for the GP series in three months,” but it didn’t heal at all.” October has come, and the deadline to participate in the GP series was approaching. After his last hospital visit, he was told by his father, coach Masakazu Kagiyama, of a still unsatisfactory diagnosis. “Let’s miss it.”
“I was in the car for an hour and couldn’t answer. I struggled. If I lose my skating, I will have nothing left. I burst into tears.”
“I couldn’t bear to watch it.” Masakazu said. “It is related to the athlete’s life. The future is long.” His words hit him with reality, and Yuma calmed down. “My goal is the 2026 Olympics in four years.”
After deciding to withdraw, it was just an injury. “It was an opportunity to learn so much about my body that I could say ‘thanks’ to my injury. When I took a blood test, I found out that I was overwhelmingly lacking the nutrients needed to build bones, so I talked to a coach and nutritionist. I worked on improving my diet and sleep. Sleep increased from 6 hours to at least 8 hours, along with vitamin D and zinc intake. Now I feel that it was right to withdraw. By improving my lifestyle, the waves disappeared, and I became consistent in my practice.”
“My heart cleared too. Four Japanese men qualified for the GP Final. It was the first time in 10 years since 2012 that Shoma Uno and Sota Yamamoto, who practice at the same rink, won gold and silver medals. However, I really wasn’t in a hurry. I didn’t have any feelings other than positive ones. I was just sending messages of support.” Yuma said.
In late November, we spoke with Yuma’s father again. The mood was positive. But he hasn’t made a full recovery. Mr. Masakazu also offered to abstain from participating in the Japanese Nationals. Yuma didn’t give up this time. He pushed back, saying, “I will definitely compete at the Japanese Nationals. I want to qualify for the World Championships (next March in Saitama) in my home country, which I enjoyed watching live three years ago.”
“I still can’t hit with my left leg. So I can’t do a quadruple toe loop. It was planned to be a quad salchow, which is an edge type jump that has less load on the leg, and a triple axel, but I will try challenging a quadruple flip with a push from the right foot.”
“I tried loop (at the Beijing Olympics) and lutz (in the spring and summer before the injury), but I’m not 100% sure.”
Yuma is determined to try, saying, “If I’m going to participate in a competition, I want to try something. Whether I succeed or fail, I want to leave a mark. I wish I could perform without regrets as a start to the next four years.”
! Please take into account that interview was translated via machine translation so it may not be completely accurate or conveying all the details and nuances. !
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