South Korean figure skater Cha Jun-hwan won the men’s singles short program with a new personal best in his final tuneup competition ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Cha earned 98.96 points to set a new career high at the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, on Friday (local time).
Cha will be one of two South Korean men competing in figure skating during the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Winter Games. He easily won the national team trials earlier this month to qualify for his second straight Winter Olympics.
Cha’s previous personal best had been 97.33 points, set at the 2019 Four Continents, where he ended up in sixth place overall.
Cha opened his program with a clean quadruple salchow, and followed it up with a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination. Cha also received high scores for his spins and step sequence, which sandwiched a clean triple axel.
Two Japanese skaters, Kazuki Tomono (97.10) and Kao Miura (88.37), trail Cha heading into Sunday’s free skate.
The other Beijing-bound South Korean, Lee Si-hyeong, ranked sixth in the short program with 79.13 points.
The Four Continents are open to non-European skaters. Cha finished his personal-high fifth at the 2020 Four Continents, after setting career-best free skate score with 175.06 points and total score with 265.43 points.
Among the absent in Estonia are the two-time defending Olympic champion from Japan, Yuzuru Hanyu, and the three-time world champion from the U.S., Nathan Chen.
Source: Yonhap News Agency