Updated: 12/23/2013 12:28 | By Agence France-Presse

Figure skating GP Final champ Hanyu books Sochi berth

Grand Prix Final champion Yuzuru Hanyu recovered from an early tumble to win the men's title at the Japanese national figure skating championships, booking a spot at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.


Figure skating GP Final champ Hanyu books Sochi berth

Yuzuru Hanyu (C), pictured after winning gold, Tatsuki Machida (L) after winning silver and Takahiko Kozuka after winning bronze in the men's single skating at Japan's national championships in Saitama, suburban Tokyo, on December 22, 2013

With a 9.88-point lead after the short programme, Hanyu fell on his opening quadruple salchow but nailed his next element, a quadruple toe loop, as he skated to "Romeo and Juliet" by Nino Rota in Saitama on Sunday.

The 19-year-old earned 194.70 points in the free programme for a total of 297.80, better than three-time world champion Patrick Chan's world record of 295.27 set last month at the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris.

But Hanyu's new mark will not be recognised by the International Skating Union as the national event is not sanctioned by the world body.

Hanyu beat Canadian Chan into second spot at the Grand Prix Final this month in the Japanese city of Fukuoka with a world record short programme score of 99.84 but on Saturday the university student bettered that with a whopping 103.10.

Tatsuki Machida, with two Grand Prix wins under his belt this season, finished second overall with 277.04 points and Takahiko Kozuka third with 264.81.

Daisuke Takahashi, 27, who won Olympic bronze and the world championship in 2010, finished fifth.

Olympic silver medallist Mao Asada, who took the women's title in Fukuoka, was in first place after Sunday's women's short programme with 73.01 points ahead of Akiko Suzuki (70.19) and Kanako Murakami (67.42).

Japan's figure skating team -- three men and three women -- for February's Sochi Winter Olympics was due to be announced later on Monday after the women's free skate, with the men's and women's national champions earning automatic qualification.

The remaining places are worked out based on factors including Grand Prix Final results and world rankings.

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