Hanyu looking for GP Final berth by defending NHK Trophy

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) " Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will reappear on the figure skating circuit at the NHK Trophy this week to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

Of the five previous grand prix events this season, Hanyu competed only in Skate Canada, and won silver. He will be concentrating on perfecting his quads " there are six in his programs. In September in Montreal, the Japanese skater became the first to land a quad loop in competition when he did one in each of his programs.

He returns to the NHK Trophy, where he became the first skater last year to surpass a 300-point total.

"I feel like I could do it again," Hanyu said. "But this is a new program, the music is different, the venue is different. Everything is different so I will just focus on executing and doing the best I can."

Hanyu turns 22 a day before the GP Final from Dec. 8-11 in Marseille, France.

In the women's event, Four Continents champion Satoko Miyahara of Japan and world bronze medalist Anna Pogorilaya of Russia are the favorites.

Miyahara was third at Skate Canada and will also be looking to qualify for the GP Final.

"I wasn't satisfied with my performance at Skate Canada," Miyahara said. "So I want to perform well in the short program here and build momentum. I've been working on my jumps and step sequences."

Mirai Nagasu of the United States and world junior medalists Maria Sotskova of Russia and Wakaba Higuchi of Japan are also competing. Trophee de France silver medalist Sotskova and bronze medalist Higuchi have a shot at the Final. Other contenders include Alaine Chartrand of Canada and Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan.

Two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada will be the favorites in the pairs. They are also the two-time defending champions at the NHK Trophy.

Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada highlight the ice dance. In their return to competition this season, they won the Autumn Classic in September and Skate Canada in October.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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