LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Rika Kihira of Japan presented a stunning performance in free skating to win the women's singles gold medal at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019 in Anaheim, California on Friday.
Kihira, who finished only fifth in short program, opened her free skating with a triple Axel and followed up with a double Axel-triple toe, triple Lutz-triple toe, four more triples as well as level-four spins and footwork. In her senior debut, Kihira scored 153.14 points and racked up 221.99 points for the title.
"In the practice rink this morning I tried as many triple Axels as possible. I felt I need to focus, concentrate and just do it. The most important thing I learned from this competition is, no matter what happens never give up, keep going," said Kihira.
Kazakhstan's Elizabet Tursynbaeva pulled up from sixth to claim the silver with 207.46 points and Mai Mihara of Japan surged from eighth to snatch the bronze medal on 207.12 points.
"This is unexpected for me. I didn't think I would be on the podium today," the 18-year-old Tursynbaeva said. "After the short program, being sixth, I had nothing to lose so we decided I had to try the quad Salchow. I still have work to do on it but it wasn't bad in this big competition. I'm happy I attempted it and will keep trying until I land it."
Tursynbaeva is the first female figure skater from Kazakhstan to win an ISU Championship medal.
Defending champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan came fourth at 206.79 points. Overnight leader Bradie Tennell from the United States finished fifth. China's Chen Hongyi was 14th.