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Yuzuru Hanyu hopes to be someone's 'ray of hope' ahead of World Team Trophy

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan holds his bronze medal after the men's free skate program at the World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

TOKYO -- Two-time Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, one of eight figure skaters chosen to represent Japan in the upcoming World Team Trophy, expressed his enthusiasm for the event on April 6 while holding a sign reading, "I hope I can be someone's ray of hope."

    Reflecting on his performance at the March World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm, where he took bronze, Hanyu said, "I can't say it was a perfect performance," but added that he received words of support from many people.

    "When I hear people tell me things like, 'You encouraged me,' or, 'You were my ray of hope,' I feel like I'm doing something for others, even if the result wasn't good, or the performance wasn't as good as I wanted it to be," Hanyu said. "I want to keep this feeling inside me at all times when performing; that's why I chose these words."

    Eight members including Hanyu, Shoma Uno and Rika Kihira, who are scheduled to perform in the event from April 15 to 18 at Maruzen Intec Arena Osaka, issued their statements on April 6.

    The event also features skaters from Russia, the United States, Canada, Italy and France. Two men, two women and a pair will perform in the short program, an ice dance team will perform in a rhythm dance, and all skaters will compete in the free skate or dance. The team with the highest points total will win, and Japan aims to take the crown for the first time since 2017.

    According to the organizers, the event will use a "bubble system" in which skaters and their affiliated parties are isolated from everyone else, and "will be held while taking thorough measures to prevent coronavirus infections."

    (Japanese original by Hitoshi Kurasawa, Sports News Department)

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