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Figure skating: Asada leads Japan sweep at Four Continents

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Former world champion Mao Asada led Japan's medal sweep in the women's singles at the Four Continents championships, remaining unbeaten with five wins in the pre-Olympic season.

Cushioned by a comfortable lead from the short programme and skating to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", the 2012 Grand Prix Final winner topped the free skating table with 130.96 points for a two-day total of 205.45.

Akiko Suzuki, the 2012 world bronze medallist, marked the second best free-skate sore of 124.43 points to finish second overall with 190.08.

Another Japanese national Kanako Murakami, the 2010 world junior champion, came in third overall as she did in the short programme with a total of 181.03.

It was the third Four Continents title for 22-year-old Asada and the first in three years. The event brings together talent from the non-European continents.

Asada has won two Grand Prix titles in China and Japan as well as the Grand Prix Final and the national championship so far this season.

The 2008 and 2010 world champion is gearing up for the world championships next month in London, Ontario, where she is due to face South Korea's Kim Yu-Na who beat her into second spot at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and made a comeback in a second-tier competition in December.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130210/figure-skating-asada-leads-japan-sweep-at-four-continents