Injured Hanyu faces month out as Pyeongchang Winter Olympics loom

AFP
The injury, sustained on the eve of the NHK Trophy, is a big setback with just three months to go until he is due to defend his gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
AFP
AFP

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada perform during free dance section en route to winning the ice dance gold medal at the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan, on November 12, 2017.

Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu said on Sunday he needed 10 days of "complete rest" after damaging ankle ligaments and hopes to be back skating competitively in four weeks.

The injury, sustained on the eve of the NHK Trophy, is a big setback with just three months to go until he is due to defend his gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"I was told by my doctors that I am to have complete rest for 10 days. I hope to fully recover in three to four weeks, but this is tentative," Hanyu said in a statement.

"I will work hard on my treatment and rehabilitation to be in time for the nationals (in December)."

The reigning world champion fell and twisted his right ankle while attempting the ultra-tough quadruple Lutz during practice on Thursday at Osaka's Municipal Central Gymnasium.

He was able to skate off the ice and walk unassisted, but was limping. Shortly afterwards, the Japanese star returned to the ice and resumed practice but on Friday he withdrew from the NHK Trophy, which he had won for the past two years.

He told national broadcaster NHK, a co-organizer of the event, that he was focusing on the Olympics.

The national championships serve as the final trial to decide which skaters go to the Olympics.

"Truly, there is only little time left before the Pyeongchang Olympics. All I can do is to do whatever needs to be done in front of me and take one thing at a time," he told NHK.

"I wish to return to the ice by completely healing the injury."

In Hanyu's absence, Russian Sergei Voronov grabbed his first Grand Prix victory on Saturday. His compatriot and teenage two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva won the women's event.

In the pairs, Chinese Sui Wenjing and Hang Cong finished first, also on Saturday.

AFP

Sui Wenjing (left) and Han Cong of China pose following their victory in the pairs event at the NHK Trophy in Osaka on November 11, 2017.

The Canadian duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir triumphed in the ice dance to round off competition on Sunday.

The three-time and reigning world champions secured a place in the International Skating Union's Grand Prix Final next month.

Virtue and Moir, who led after the short program, finished with an overall total of 198.64 points to claim their second title of the season.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States were second with 188.35 points, with Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy placing third with 186.56.

Skating to "Tango de Roxanne" and "Come What May," the Canadian duo combined powerful lifts with well-synchronized twizzles and smooth step sequences for 117.72 points in the free dance.

With the victory Virtue and Moir, who won their seventh Skate Canada title last month with a record score, booked their place at the December 7-10 Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.

"We've made some improvements this week that we're quite proud of from Skate Canada," Moir said. "We only had one week. We're looking to make the same sort of transition into the final. It's a great stepping stone here for us."

Hubbell and Donohue, with a bronze and a silver from their two competitions, will have to wait to see if they get to go to Nagoya.

"We felt like we did a really artistic performance of our program," Hubbell said. "We left some points on the table, but we'll be going home, working."

The NHK Trophy is the fourth event in the ISU's Grand Prix series. The next competition is the November 17-19 Grand Prix of France.

Special Reports
Top