Rika Kihira has decided to prioritize the complete recovery of the injury this year and will skip the qualifying event for Nationals and Worlds

Posted on 2023-09-05 • No comments yet


Rika Kihira has decided to prioritize her complete recovery and will skip the qualifying event for Japanese Nationals.

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A post shared by Rika Kihira (@rikaskate0721)

source: nikkansports.com

The 2019 and 2020 Japanese national champion, Rika Kihira announced on the September 4th that she will not enter the Central Championship (22nd to 24th) for the 2022-23 season, which serves as the qualifying competition for the World Championships. She has decided to “prioritize the complete recovery of the injury this year.”

This means she will lose her eligibility for the Japanese National Championships, which is also the final selection competition for the 2024 World Championships. While there’s a possibility she might still participate in the Grand Prix Series (GP) second event Skate Canada (October 27-29, Vancouver), without participating in the Japanese National, there is no chance for her to secure a spot at the World Championships through discretionary selection.

Kihira injured her right ankle in July 2021 and missed the entire competitive season of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. She finished in 11th place at the 2022 Japanese National Championships and did not get a seed position for the 2023 championships.

Her message on Twitter is as follows:

“Good evening, everyone.

Thank you as always for your support.

I wanted to inform you about this year’s competition.

I will not be entering the Central Championship this year.

I have had a previous right calcaneus stress fracture, and it worsened at last year’s Nationals. It has improved significantly, but it has not yet completely healed, so I have made this decision. Also, I don’t want to repeat last season, where I couldn’t give my all in training and competition while nursing an injury, resulting in mediocre results. So, aiming for the 2026 Milan Olympics dream, I have decided to prioritize the complete recovery of the injury this year after discussions with my coach.

Currently, the injury is getting closer to a complete recovery. I am gradually increasing the intensity of my on-ice training and off-ice training in Toronto, Canada, with my coach Brian (Orser – ed.). As for the Grand Prix Series Canada event, there is still some time, so I will consider it based on my condition.

Next season, I aim to be healthy first and then fully recover my performance, striving to reach the top with all my might.

From now on and even at this moment, I will continue to work hard on on-ice and off-ice training.

My goal is the 2026 Milan Olympics. I would be happy if you could continue to support and watch over me.”


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