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Japan's Rika Kihira defends her title at Four Continents

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Seoul (AFP)

Japan's Rika Kihira defended her title in the Four Continents figure skating competition after coming on top of the women's free programme Saturday.

The seventeen-year-old champion, who also claimed her first national title in December, scored the overall score of 232.34 in Seoul, clinching the gold medal.

Kihira missed her opening triple axel jump in her short skate, making her victory not a sure thing, but overcame the setback in solid play by landing a triple axel-double toe loop combination.

She earned the top free skate score of 151.16 points.

South Korea's You Young pleased her home fans by clinching the silver medal with the overall score of 223.23, after coming second in the short programme with the score of 149.68 points, both her best personal scores.

You's medal was South Korea's first medal in the annual event in 11 years.

You performed without a blemish and ended her performance looking satisfied, receiving cheers from her South Korean fans holding national flags.

Bradie Tennell of the United States scored 147.04 in her free skate and settled for the bronze with the overall score of 222.97

Kihira -- who had a golden run last season before finishing fourth at the Worlds -- finished second in Skate Canada and the NHK Trophy prior to her win at the Four Continents in Seoul.

Four Continents features top skaters from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

The men's single free skating, followed by gala exhibition, will be held on Sunday.

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