Russians Medvedeva, Voronov win figure skating singles titles

Osaka (Japan) (AFP) - Two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva won her first NHK Trophy title while her compatriot Sergei Voronov claimed his first Grand Prix title in the men's event, boding well for Russia in the Olympic season.

Russians Medvedeva, Voronov win figure skating singles titles

Russians Medvedeva, Voronov win figure skating singles titles

Medvedeva, 17, maintained her lead from the short programme to top the podium with 224.39 points at Osaka's Municipal Central Gymnasium.

Italy's former world champion Caroline Kostner came an impressive second after sitting out two seasons, while another Russian Polina Tsurskaya came third at this fourth event of the Grand Prix Series.

Medvedeva fell on the ice in an early triple flip but quickly recovered with elegant jumps and emotional skating to "Anna Karenina" by Dario Marianelli in her free programme session.

The Russian sensation said her triumph was owed to some generously warm support from the Japanese fans.

"Whenever I skate in Japan, I can bet on being cheered by a warm audience, and this time I was able to skate in good condition," Medvedeva said.

"Unfortunately, I made a little mistake, but I was able to skate to the end thanks to the people here," she added.

In the men's field, Voronov displayed soaring, dynamic jumps and spins to seal his first Grand Prix victory with 271.12 points, fending off challenges by Israeli Alexei Bychenko, who was runner-up.

"I'm so tired," Voronov said, adding that he wants to maintain his form all the way through to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The men's event was overshadowed by the absence of Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who withdrew due to an injury, disappointing local fans.

Hanyu, winner of NHK Trophy in the past two years, pulled out at the last minute after damaging ankle ligaments in a fall during practice on Thursday.

The accident hit the 22-year-old three months ahead of the Winter Games where he is set to defend the Olympic title.

He said he would now focus on treatment and building up to the national championships in December, suggesting he has no concerns about being fit for the Olympics.

In the pairs, Chinese Sui Wenjing and Hang Cong won, followed by Rissian Ksenia Stolbova and Fefor Klimov. Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov of Russia won bronze.

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