2014-01-26 03:01 AM
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Japan's Kanako Murakami took gold in the women's competition at the Four Continents after a brilliant performance in the free skate on Saturday despite a lingering ankle injury.
Murakami finished 10 points above Satoko Miyahara, also from Japan, whose free skate performance vaulted her from fourth to second overall.
Despite a sore ankle hindering her practice, the 19-year-old Murakami hit a triple toe-triple toe combination, triple lutz and triple flip-double toe for her first gold at an international championship event.
Ahead of her first Winter Olympics next month, Murakami earned a segment score of 132.18 and overall total of 196.91.
"I was anxious the whole time because of my leg," Murakami said. "But I was able to relax when my performance started."
Making her Four Continents debut, the 15-year-old Miyahara produced a stellar performance which included a triple lutz-triple toe and double axel-double toe combinations for 126.26 in the free skate and a total of 186.53.
"I know this will be a great start for the next season," Miyahara said.
The 17-year-old Li enjoyed a season best of 118.72 for a total 181.56 with a triple flip-double toe and double axel-triple toe combinations.
Imai dropped from third in the short program to sixth in the free skate with 112.68. Hicks produced a solid effort that earned her 113.63 and fourth in the free skate.