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Figure skating: Coach 'very confident' in Hanyu's readiness for worlds

In this file photo, Yuzuru Hanyu is seen during the Rostelecom Cup at Megasport Sport Palace in Moscow, on Oct. 21, 2017. (Mainichi)

MINSK, Belarus (Kyodo) -- Figure skating coach Brian Orser said Saturday he is "very confident" two-time Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu will be able to compete at this spring's world championships which will be held on his home soil in Japan.

Orser told reporters at the European Figure Skating Championships in Minsk that Hanyu, who is recovering from a right ankle injury, has resumed on-ice training with his sights set on the March 20-23 championships at Saitama Super Arena.

Orser said the 24-year-old is in familiar territory, having come back from a lengthy injury layoff to defend his gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February last year.

"I'm very confident that he'll be ready, of course," Orser said. "He is a good strong competitor and the worlds are in Japan, so he wants to be on top form."

Hanyu skipped the Grand Prix Final and the national championships, both in December, after he picked up an ankle injury in practice at November's Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix in Moscow.

Orser said he does not know whether Hanyu is fit enough to perform a quad jump, but will find out when he returns to his training base in Toronto.

Hanyu is also a two-time world champion and a four-time Grand Prix Final champion. He won his first world title at the same venue in Saitama in 2014.

Orser has also coached Javier Fernandez, who ended his illustrious career with his seventh consecutive European title on Saturday.

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