Star Yuzuru Hanyu pulls out of NHK Trophy with injury

Defending world and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who sustained injuries to his right ankle and knee during an official practice, will withdraw from the NHK Trophy, his jump coach Ghislain Briand said Friday.

Hanyu fell while attempting a quad lutz at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Thursday and missed Friday morning’s training session, though Briand said the skater was still eager to complete a three-peat in the ISU Grand Prix event.

But with less than an hour before competition starts with the pairs short program, the 22-year-old’s coach revealed that he will not take part.

The injuries are likely to force him out of the Dec. 7-9 Grand Prix Final in Nagoya featuring the top six skaters and pairs in each category, where Hanyu was bidding for a fifth straight title.

Briand earlier Friday said Hanyu is able to walk and jump. Hanyu’s primary coach Brian Orser was not able to make the trip as he recently underwent gall bladder surgery in Canada.

Last week, Canadian figure skater and three-time world champion Partick Chan announced he would opt out of the NHK Trophy to focus on the national championships and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Daisuke Murakami also pulled out due to pneumonia and was replaced by Hiroaki Sato.

The men’s competition begins with the short program Friday evening, and the free skating will be held Saturday. Hanyu was looking to earn his fourth career title at the NHK Trophy, the fourth of six events in the ISU Grand Prix Series.

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