Olympic-bound figure skater Cha Jun-hwan captures final event before Beijing

유지호 / 2022-01-23 22:16:42
  • facebookfacebook
  • twittertwitter
  • kakaokakao
  • pinterestpinterest
  • navernaver
  • bandband
  • -
  • +
  • print
figure skating-competition
▲ In this Reuters photo, Cha Jun-hwan of South Korea performs his free skate program in the men's singles competition at the International Skating Union Four Continents Figure Skating Championships at Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, on Jan. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

▲ In this Reuters photo, Cha Jun-hwan of South Korea stands on the top of the podium after winning the men's singles title at the International Skating Union Four Continents Figure Skating Championships at Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, on Jan. 23, 2022. (Yonhap)

figure skating-competition

Olympic-bound figure skater Cha Jun-hwan captures final event before Beijing

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean figure skater Cha Jun-hwan won his final event before the Beijing Winter Olympics on Sunday, brightening hopes for a medal in his second career Winter Games appearance.

Cha captured the men's singles title at the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, on Sunday, with a new personal-best score of 273.22 points.

Cha set a season best with 174.26 points in the free skate. He had won Friday's short program with a personal-best 98.96 points.

Cha is the first South Korean man to win a Four Continents title, and this was also his first major senior international title.

Kazuki Tomono of Japan won silver with 268.99 points, and his countryman, Kao Miura, finished in third place at 251.07 points.

Cha, 20, won the South Korean Olympic trials earlier this month and will be one of two male figure skaters representing the country at the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Olympics. The other, Lee Si-hyeong, finished seventh at the Four Continents with 223.18 points.

The annual ISU event is open to all non-European skaters. But with the Olympics so close, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, the two-time defending gold medalist, and Nathan Chen of the United States, the three-time world champion, skipped the Four Continents.

Cha overcame an early mistake in his free skate to secure the gold. He fell trying to land his opening quadruple toe loop and lost 3.80 points in grade of execution score for under-rotating the jump.

He nailed his second quad jump of the program, the quadruple salchow, and followed it up with a clean triple lutz-triple loop combination.

Cha was called for an under-rotation of the first jump of a triple axel-double toe loop combination midway through the program. But Cha locked down first place with successful jumps and flawless spins.

In his Winter Games debut four years ago on home ice in PyeongChang, Cha finished in 15th place, the best Olympic performance by a South Korean man. He should be in for a much higher finish this year, though there will be much less margin for error at the Olympics with most top contenders able to land quadruple jumps with stunning ease.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved