Sports News

Asada stunned by success as Kim ponders options

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Japan’s Mao Asada said she put in a “perfect performance” to beat stressed rival Kim Yuna to the world title on Saturday.

Gold medalist Mao Asada of Japan celebrates with her medal and a flag of Japan after the women's free skate event at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin March 27, 2010. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

“For the short and the free programmes I was looking for a perfect performance; I think I accomplished my aim. On top of that I got a gold medal so I’m very pleased,” the 19-year-old told a news conference after turning the tables on Olympic champion Kim.

“To be honest I didn’t think I’d be sitting here at the end of the season.”

South Korea’s Kim, also 19, rewrote the record books when claiming gold at last month’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver but said she had struggled to cope with her success.

“The Olympics were the biggest goal of my life and I thought there’s nothing else to win. But I thought I had to do my best here,” said Kim, who moved up from seventh in Friday’s short routine to take the world silver medal.

“After the Olympics I had mental and physical trouble.”

With the next Winter Games four years away in Sochi, Russia, Queen Yuna as she dubbed at home is considering whether she should turn professional.

“I’ll take a break and think about my future,” she said.

Asada, the only woman performing triple axels in competition having learnt the jump at 13, finished second in both segments in Turin to seal victory with an overall mark of 197.58.

“At the start of the season I had to continue to challenge and push myself to do the triple axel. After the Olympics I was very relaxed,” Asada said, adding that she would now consider hiring a new coach for next season.

Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email