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Figure skating phenom aggravates ankle, hip injuries during Olympic trials: source

All Headlines 12:29 July 31, 2017

SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean figure skating phenom Cha Jun-hwan aggravated his ankle and hip injuries during the recent Olympic trials, a source close to the athlete said Monday.

The source said Cha, 15, had been training with lingering right ankle pain, which in turn caused pain in his hip, when he entered the Figure Skating Korea Challenge in Seoul last weekend. The event doubled as the first round of the Olympic trials for next year's PyeongChang Winter Games.

"I think his injuries got worse after the competition, and he'll undergo further tests in Korea," the source said. "His schedule will be determined depending on test results."

South Korean figure skater Cha Jun-hwan performs his free skate program during the Figure Skating Korea Challenge at Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul on July 30, 2017. (Yonhap)

Cha, considered a favorite to win the men's singles event last weekend, instead finished in third place, hampered by a series of jumping mistakes. Lee June-hyoung finished first with 228.72, while Cha scored only 206.92 points. He was transferred to a local hospital immediately after his free skate Sunday and missed the medal ceremony.

The source said Cha had already withdrawn from the Asian Trophy, set to begin on Wednesday in Hong Kong, even before the Figure Skating Korea Challenge.

Cha had been bothered by ankle issues since last year while working on his quadruple jumps. He competed through the season without setting aside time for proper treatment.

Making matters worse for the teenager was that he hasn't been able to find boots that fit. He's been taping them to keep them tight in competitions, and said last week he'd stick to the current pair because it's risky to change skates once the season is underway.

After the Asian Trophy, Cha's next event likely won't come until October. There will be two more rounds of Olympic trials in December and then January, with the combined score determining who will represent the host country in PyeongChang.


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