Uno Delights Home Crowd to Retain World Title

Gold medallist Shoma Uno, center, poses with medal after winning the men’s free skating alongside silver medallist Junhwan Cha of South Korea and bronze medallist Ilia Malinin of the U.S., at the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama on Sunday.

SAITAMA (Reuters) — Shoma Uno retained his men’s figure skating world title with a stellar free skate on home ice on Saturday after Madison Chock and Evan Bates overcame a fall in their free dance to win their first ice dance world title.

After overcoming an ankle injury this week, Uno landed four clean quads in his “Air on the G String”/“Mea tormenta, properate” routine to earn 196.51 points and finish with an overall score of 301.14 points.

Uno, who led rising American star Ilia Malinin after Thursday’s short program, fell backward and lay on the ice as he soaked up a standing ovation from the delighted home crowd at the Saitama Super Arena.

Cha Jun-hwan became the first South Korean man to win a world medal after setting personal best scores of 196.39 points and 296.03 points to take silver.

Malinin, 18, landed a quadruple axel but errors on his five other attempted quads meant he finished third with 288.44 points.

Earlier, Chock and Bates were crowned world champions in their 10th appearance in the competition with an overall score of 226.01 after they topped the free dance with 134.07 points while performing to “Souffrance”/“Les Tectoniques.”

The American pair finished more than three points ahead of Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri after Friday’s rhythm dance and hung on to their lead to win gold despite Chock tumbling midway through their program.

Reigning European champions Guignard and Fabbri took silver with 219.85 points while Grand Prix Final champions Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada won bronze with 217.88 points.

Chock and Bates, who bagged the Four Continents title on home ice last month, have previously won one silver and two bronze world medals.

“We’ve been pursuing this goal for so many years and it just happened 10 seconds ago,” Bates said. “It’s really hard to put this moment into words and what it means to us, I’m so happy.”