SAITAMA, Japan — Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara became the first skaters from Japan to win the pairs at the world figure skating championships on Thursday, AP reported.
Miura and Kihara were first after the short program on Wednesday and finished second in the free skate with 141.44 points, behind reigning world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the United States.
But their two-day total of 222.19 points was good enough for a 4.68-points lead over Knierim and Frazier, who scored 142.84 in the free for a 217.48 total.
Frazier fell in the short program on the triple toe which proved to be costly for the Americans.
European champions Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii of Italy were third with 208.08.
Miura and Kihara won the silver medal at the last worlds. Their personal best of 80.72 in the short program gave them a 6.08 lead over the Americans and a shot at history heading into the free program at Saitama Super Arena.
Miura and Kihara started strong with a triple twist, a triple toe-double toe-double axel sequence and a difficult lift. But Miura doubled the side-by-side salchow and touched down on the throw triple loop.
The Japanese team dominated this season with gold at the Grand Prix Final and the Four Continents, and added the worlds.
“After the Four Continents, we worked really hard to have no regrets,” Miura said. “In the short program we were able to show what we’ve been working on, but today in the free skate my weakness came out and I feel regret, but I am happy.”
Other Japanese winners of world championships are Yuzuru Hanyu in the men’s individual, and Kaori Sakamoto, who leads after the short program and is aiming to become the first Japanese woman to win back-to-back titles.
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