SAITAMA, Japan, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Two-time Olympic figure skating winner Yuzuru Hanyu has been confirmed to compete in his first event in eight months at Japan's national championships which kick off on Thursday.
The 27-year-old's appearance had been put in doubt again after he pulled out of a scheduled practice and canceled a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Saitama's Super Arena. He attended the opening ceremony on the evening and a draw afterward in a suit and tie.
He has been drawn in fourth place of Group Four and will show up in Friday's short program as the 28th. A total of 32 skaters will compete in the men's event.
Hanyu, who finished third in the 2021 World Championships in Stockholm, has been out of competition since the World Team Championships in Osaka, Japan last April.
He pulled out of the NHK Trophy Grand Prix last month after injuring his right ankle ligaments in a fall during practice.
The winner of the national championships will qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics but local reports said that Hanyu, now the second highest-ranked Japanese skater in the world, can win a slot for Beijing 2022 by finishing top three.
The men's free skate will be held on Sunday. Enditem