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Figure skating: Former Olympic bronze medalist Takahashi qualifies for nationals

Figure skater Daisuke Takahashi acknowledges cheers from the crowd at the Western Japan championship in Nagoya on Nov. 4, 2018. (Kyodo)

NAGOYA (Kyodo) -- Daisuke Takahashi, the men's figure skating bronze medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, competing again for the first time in four years, qualified for this year's national championships by winning the Western Japan championship on Sunday.

The 32-year-old, who retired after the 2014 Sochi Olympics, scored 161.11 points in Sunday's free skate for a two-day total of 244.67 that brought the crowd at Gaishi Plaza to its feet.

"This is a confidence builder," said Takahashi after a routine that included a triple axel, triple toeloop combination.

Last month, Takahashi was third in the Kinki Championship, his first tournament back. At that time, he'd led after the short program but struggled in the longer free skate. Although he said he was not moving well at the end, Takahashi didn't show any difficulties until the final spin.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how much I can improve," he said.

The nationals will be held in Osaka in December.

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