Yuma Kagiyama struck gold on Grand Prix debut as figure skating’s NHK Trophy concluded in Japan.
The world silver medallist nailed a quad Salchow, quad toe-triple toe, quad toe, two triple Axels and three more triples as well as three level-four spins to take the win in Sunday’s free skate.
A score of 188.61 from that display helped the Japanese teenager to 275.87 points overall, winning by nearly 50 points ahead of Kazuki Tomono and Lucas Tsuyoshi Honda, silver and bronze medallists respectively.
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"This was my first big senior competition and being in first place really builds my confidence. I think it is a good step for the next competition," the 17-year-old said. "The programme is not perfect yet. In the Lutz-loop [combination] I popped the second jump. I need to practice more for the next competition."
There were more inaugural victors in Osaka with Kaori Sakamoto winning with more than 30 points to spare in the women’s programme for her maiden Grand Prix success.
Teammate Wakaba Higuchi earned the silver medal while newcomer Rino Matsuike, also from Japan, climbed from fourth to take bronze in her senior Grand Prix debut.
Overnight leader Sakamoto skated last and ended on a high, reeling off a triple flip-triple toe, triple Lutz, Salchow, double Axel-triple toe-double toe and triple flip-double toe.
A free skate score of 153.91 took her to 229.51 points overall.
"Last season I was not able to skate this program clean, because I lacked stamina," said Sakamoto. "During the six weeks quarantine I worked hard off the ice and it paid off. It was tough, but I told myself I need to go through it.
"I never want to feel the same I did last season."
Success continued for the husband-and-wife team of Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto, as the pair dominated the ice dance programme to take home Grand Prix gold.
Fellow Japanese skaters Rikako Fukase and Eichu Cho took silver but they were no threat to the victors, who finished 22 points clear of the pack.
Japan’s new team of Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi settled for third place on their competition debut.
"I am very happy and proud we skated two powerful programs," Komatsubara said. "On the first day, the distance between us was what we worked on and we discussed it although the morning practice didn’t go that well. So we are being more professional.
Koleto added: "It was difficult to do online [training] lessons and we want to work harder but it felt great."
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