Local favorite Satoko Miyahara will be aiming to continue her strong start to the season at the NHK Trophy in Hiroshima, the fourth event of the International Skating Union's 2018 Grand Prix Series.
Miyahara opened her season with a victory at Skate America, but will face a tough challenge in the form of Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamysheva who claimed the Skate Canada crown two weeks ago.
While she's had to deal with a series of injuries, the criticism of Miyahara over the years is that her jumps lacked impact. That's something the 20-year-old Miyahara has been working hard to improve on.
"In the past if I felt I was underrotating my jumps, I would just think in terms of jumping higher," she said. "Now I'm looking a lot more at the technical aspects of my jumps."
Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno, coming off a win at Skate Canada, headlines a men's field that also includes Vincent Zhou of the United States and Kevin Reynolds of Canada. Uno's main challenge will likely come from Russia's Sergei Voronov, who won the event in 2017 and was third at Skate America. Russian skater Dmitri Aliev and Sota Yamamoto of Japan also could be outside contenders in this competition.
"I want to show my fans the progress I have made," Uno said. "I've been working hard on all aspects of skating; jumps, spins, steps and I hope the results are evident."
In pairs, Russia's Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, winners in Finland last weekend, will be in the hunt for a podium finish in Hiroshima and a berth at the Grand Prix Final.
China's Cheng Peng and Yang Jin and Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro will also be strong medal contenders.
Russia's Tiffani Zahorski and Jonathan Guerreiro, who were third at Skate America, will be among the favorites in ice dance along with Americans Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons.
The competition begins with the men's and women's short programs on Friday.
Many of the skaters in this weekend's event will be aiming to solidify their chances of advancing to the Dec. 6-9 Grand Prix Final in Vancouver, Canada.
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