Rinka Watanabe: “I participated in all international competitions last season, so I hope that it can become the norm for me rather than a miracle.”

Posted on 2023-09-26 • No comments yet


Rinka Watanabe about start of the season.

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A post shared by 渡辺倫果 Rinka WATANABE (@rinkaaaa_0719)

source: nikkansports.com

At the Tokyo Championships, Rika Watanabe, who finished 10th at last season’s World Championships, expressed her satisfaction with her performance despite a few minor mistakes in her jumps that resulted in a score of 60.14 points.

She doubled a jump and she made a mistake in the step sequence. She smiled wryly and held her head after her performance but mentioned, “It was good that I was able to improve my condition to some extent in a short span.” Following last season’s success, she participated in ice shows and experienced the longest off-season of her competitive career. She completed the “One Piece on Ice” performance earlier this month and transitioned into competition mode for this event.

In the final practice session just before the competition, she also attempted a triple axel. She said, “I’ll decide whether to attempt it in the actual performance after assessing the situation. I skipped it today, but I’ll probably try one tomorrow,” displaying her enthusiasm for the challenge in the free skate.

Last season, she quickly rose to become a prominent figure in Japanese women’s skating with her first appearance and victory in the Grand Prix series, among other accomplishments. She felt the changes in the way people around her viewed her, so she decided on the theme for this season: “Don’t forget your original intentions.” She stated, “After considering various things, I came to this point. I participated in all international competitions last season, so I hope that it can become the norm for me rather than a miracle. Without thinking about various perspectives, I want to prioritize what I want to do.”

In the free skate Rinka Watanabe relinquish her “free skate queen” title. In her second competition of the season, she attempted her signature triple axel but faced falls and jump mistakes, earning 92.79 points in the free skate and a total of 152.93 points. She expressed determination, saying, “Regarding the ‘free skate queen’ title, or the idea of making a comeback in the free skate, I want to break free from that this year.”

On this day, she struggled and ended up in 6th place. However, considering that last year she often started slowly in the short program (SP) and made significant jumps in the free skate, she emphasized the need to “accumulate practice to be able to consistently score well from the short program.”

Last season was marked by her rapid ascent, including her debut in the Grand Prix series and a first-place finish. She took her longest off-season in her competitive career, engaging in ice shows and other activities before entering the new season.

The theme of her free skate this year is the “dark ages,” which covers her junior years, her remarkable progress last season, and her vision for the future. When asked about the title of her program, she chuckled and said, “I haven’t really given it a name… I’ll think about it now.” After a long thought, she concluded, “If I were to express it in one word, I would think ‘skating life,’ but I’ll keep thinking about it.”


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