Yuzuru Hanyu skips first practice at World Figure Skating Championships

Double Olympic champion Hanyu listed on training schedule in Saitama ahead of 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

The big question in Saitama is whether Yuzuru Hanyu will be fit for the World Figure Skating Championships.

The double Olympic champion was listed to practise at 0805 local time (2305 GMT Sunday) but did not show.

He is also scheduled for an evening practice session at 18:50 local time (09:50 GMT).

Hanyu is listed in the second group of male singles skaters on the ice along with Japanese team-mates, Keiji Tanaka and Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno, Latvia's Deniss Vasiljevs and Igor Reznichenko of Poland.

Yuzuru Hanyu listed on practice schedule ahead of the World Figure Skating Championships
Yuzuru Hanyu listed on practice schedule ahead of the World Figure Skating ChampionshipsYuzuru Hanyu listed on practice schedule ahead of the World Figure Skating Championships

There is some doubt over whether Hanyu will actually train on Monday as he has not been seen yet in the local area.

Hanyu is bidding for his third world title after previous triumphs in 2014 and 2017, but will face stiff opposition from Four Continents winner Uno and defending world champion Nathan Chen.

As at PyeongChang 2018, Hanyu goes straight into this competition after an injury setback.

And once again, it is his right ankle giving him trouble.

In November's Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, he fell practising a quadruple loop and re-injured the ankle which plagued his build-up to PyeongChang.

After considering withdrawing, Hanyu opted to skate on and claimed his second Grand Prix win of the season.

"I was thinking to stop this competition after my injury but it's my choice. I trained hard to pay tribute to Russian skating and Russian choreography. I am satisfied with how I could skate here,” he said afterwards.

But the damage was done, and Hanyu had to sit out the Grand Prix Final, Japanese nationals and Four Continents.

Yuzuru Hanyu on crutches at the Rostelecom Cup prizegiving ceremony
Yuzuru Hanyu on crutches at the Rostelecom Cup prizegiving ceremonyYuzuru Hanyu on crutches at the Rostelecom Cup prizegiving ceremony

Coach Brian Orser believed he would be fit to take this third title when Olympic Channel spoke to him during the European Championships in January.

"I’m very confident that he’ll be ready, of course,” said Orser. “He is a good strong competitor and the Worlds are in Japan, so he wants to be on top form."

Daily Live Blog

Olympic Channel will be on site at the event in Japan, bringing figure skating fans news, exclusive interviews and more. Read on for our essential guide to the event with the competition schedule here.

We will have news from the practice session in our daily live blog from Saitama running from 18-24 March.

Read our full preview here.

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