A Tale of Two Cities: Kyoto and Tokyo competitions


Jingu Ice Messengers Senior Team presented their Free Program. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Synchro community was busy ten days ago with competitions in many parts of the world, such as Canada, France, and Finland. Japan is no exception. On 9 and 10 December 2023, Kyoto and Tokyo held skating competitions, respectively. Let’s find out who competed in these events and the results.

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On 9 December, the ancient Japanese capital Kyoto held the 46th prefectural sports competition figure skating event. Juvenile, Intermediate and Open Age teams of the Kyoto-Uji Synchronized Skating Teams took part in it.

Enjoy Synchro Open Age team keeps returning to ice, proving age is just a number. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

The 15 ladies, mums and grandmas from the Open Age team took the ice early in the morning. Though there were some mistakes when executing the program, they delivered a program, which consisted of six elements and was based on the music of Les Misérables, with no fall. They clearly expressed their joy in staying active on ice and skating as a group. In the end, they received 18.05 points.

Kyoto-Uji Synchronized Skating Juvenile team had seven skaters on ice. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023) 

See me roarrrr! (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

The Juvenile team with 7 skaters in eye-catching yellow and orange dresses then took the ice. Happily skating to “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and a selection of music from the Lion King, they skated with good speed and in tight formation as a basic novice team. Their choreography also helped showcase their lively character. Because the team was technically considered withdrawn due to insufficient skaters (eight was the minimum required), their performance has not been scored.

 Intermediate team of Kyoto-Uji Synchronized Skating Team. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Not often you see a male skater being held during a death spiral.  (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

The final synchro team who took the ice was the Intermediate team of eight skaters in the Advanced Novice category. They skated with good speed and confidence that brought their powerful martial arts theme program to life. The performance dovetailed with rhythmic upbeat music and it was delivered with no major errors. All the six elements were called basic level and they earned 26.28 points as a result.

After the competition, they look forward to competing at the Japan 2024 national competition which will be held on 3 to 4 Feb 2024 in their home town Kyoto.

Full scores of the event can be found here (c.f. bottom white part of the page).
The modern capital of Japan Tokyo also held synchro competition in the same weekend. On 10 December the 31st Tokyo Synchronized Skating Open Competition took place in Funabashi City of the Chiba prefecture, not far from east of the Tokyo city. A total of five teams took place in four categories.

Ibaraki Synchro Team (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Ibaraki Synchro skaters going different directions, but aiming for the same goal. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

In the Open Age category Ibaraki Synchro team of eight skaters in impeccably white dresses was warmly welcomed to the ice. Despite the fall at the beginning of their “Enchanted” program, they remained calm and resolute till the end and received 26.77 points.
Spectators were eager to watch the Intermediate category as there was competition between the Jingu Ice Messengers Intermediate (46.75 points) team and the Yamabiko Starland (41.75 points) team.

Jingu Ice Messengers determined aiming for podium top.  (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Wheel as performed by Jingu Ice Messengers Intermediate team. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

The Jingu team skated their Mario Bros theme program again and improved from 37.75 points achieved in August (review the event here). They skated with good speed and got their synchronized spin called Level 4, whereas intersection received Level 3 with pi3 as well.

Yamabiko Starland has sufficient number of skaters to perform more complex choreography. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023) 

Yamabiko Starland showcasing their years of hard work. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

The runner-up Yamabiko proved themselves to be worthy competitor. Despite a fall early of the program, the 14 skaters pressed on and got their synchronized spin, intersection and no-hold elements called Level 3. We will be eager to watch the two teams further refining their programs down the road.

Jingu Ice Messengers Junior Team (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Spiraling their way to Junior World Championship (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Jingu Ice Messengers Junior team had the opportunity to showcase their short program (38.79). The error in pivoting block added blemishes to the otherwise pleasant execution with no fall. During their international performances, the programs will be even more perfected, much to the delight of the audience.

Go! Go! Go! Jingu Ice Messengers Senior Team not stopping. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

The Pair element was called Level 3. (Credits: Roy Ng - 2023)

Jingu Ice Messengers Senior team is the sole contestant in this category. This time they finally managed to form a full team and could execute Free Skate in this event. Though there was a fall during intersection (which was not indicated in the detailed score sheet), spectators enjoyed watching their variety of spins executed. At the end they achieved 89.26 points.
Details of the scores can be found at here (c.f. bottom white part of the page).

Jingu Ice Messengers Junior and Senior teams will meet international skating community at the Challenger Series Lumière Cup on 12 to 13 January 2024.
One more thing...
On 2nd December the 33rd Aichi Prefecture Figure Skating Competition took place and the Toyohashi Synchro Sparkle team took part in the event. The score has not been published, but we can note from their Instagram post that the skaters enjoyed participating in the event.

In conclusion, it's great to be able to see many teams on the ice presenting their programs and thus preparing for the national competition to be held in early February 2024. For some teams, while skaters have good foundation as evident during warm-up, their choreography could become more sophisticated to reflect better their true potential. 

This news coverage is not possible without the photography permission by Kyoto Skating Union and Tokyo Skating Federation. Their kind approval is duly acknowledged.