Mao Asada Skates to Season's Top Score

Mao Asada Mao Asada

Mao Asada earned this season's highest score in women's figure skating with 205.45 points in the International Skating Union Four Continents title in Osaka on Sunday.

That is more than 10 points ahead of the previous season's best set by Italy’s Carolina Costner at the European Championships of 194.71 points.

This is the third time that Asada has broken the 200-point mark, and she established herself as a strong contender for the 2013 World Championships title in Ontario, Canada next month, along with Korea's Kim Yu-na.

Asada impressed as usual with her repertoire of difficult jumps, especially her triple axel in Saturday's short program. A triple axel has a base value of 8.50 for the difficult challenge of rotating three and a half turns in the air.

Asada is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for performing three triple axels, once in the short program and twice in the free skate, at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Despite achieving her personal best of 205.50 points, she had to settle for a silver as Kim Yu-na scored 228.56 points.

The triple axel is a highly risky jump for a female skater due to its enormous difficulty and low chance of success. Asada was able to get a triple axel recognized without deduction for the first time in two years since the 2011 Four Continents in Taiwan.

She had another go in Sunday’s free skate, but that was under-rotated and two-footed and thus earned her just 3.57 points.

"I didn't want to give up the triple axel jump. I am happy I was able to challenge the triple axel, despite the difficulty," she told the Japanese press. She now stands a good chance of winning the world title next month, having already won the ISU Grand Prix Final and the Four Continents.

Kim, the reigning Olympic champion, is also preparing for the world championships in March, her first appearance in the worlds in two years. Kim skipped international competitions since her second-place finish in the 2011 world championships in Moscow. In her comeback performance, she scored 201.61 points at the NRW Trophy in Germany in December 2012, and won the Korean national title with 210.77 points last month.

Although the scores from these two competitions are not recognized by the ISU, she still proved that she is a force to reckon with.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 12, 2013 13:10 KST