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Japanese Skating Fans Disappointed but Supportive of Grand Prix Final Cancellation

INTERNATIONAL: Skating officials have announced that one of the key figure skating events leading into the Winter Olympics, the Grand Prix Final, has been cancelled after Japan closed its borders to non-Japanese visitors earlier this week. The news disappoints the Japanese skating fans but at the same time, they support the decision in the middle of the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

The Grand Prix final, which was scheduled for the western city of Osaka from 9-12 December, has long been seen as a key step on the road to the Winter Olympics, which will run from 4-20 February in Beijing next year.

Japanese fan, Wakana Yoshioka says, "I wanted to see (Japanese figure skater Shoma) Uno skate so it's a lonesome feeling (that the competition got cancelled).

Another fan, Kazumi Nakamura says, "I think it's very safe to hold the competition in Japan if people didn't have to travel, but there's a risk because people need to cross the border (for the competition), so it's no surprise that it got cancelled. "

Though disappointed to not be able to see world class figure skaters in Japan, many figure skating fans at a Tokyo ice rink were supportive of the decision to cancel the event.

Japanese fan Shuntaro Kosaka stresses, "It's not just the athletes, there will be various staff that will be travelling from overseas so there are fears we can't shrug off. So, I think it was a wise decision that they cancelled. But I'm very disappointed."

Japan on Monday took some of the strictest steps globally by closing its borders to new foreign entrants for about a month in light of the emergence of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron.

PHOTO: PEOPLE SKATING ON ICE RINK IN TOKYO, SOUNDBITES FROM SKATERS 


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