Reigning women's world champion Kaori Sakamoto won the figure skating Challenge Cup on Sunday when Mai Mihara and Mana Kawabe joined her in the Japanese podium sweep.

Top after Saturday's short program, the Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Sakamoto cruised to the title after also coming first in the free skate with 151.50 for a 228.35 total in the Netherlands.

Kaori Sakamoto of Japan performs during the women's free skate at the figure skating Challenge Cup on Feb. 26, 2023, in Tilburg, the Netherlands. (Kyodo)

"I managed to pull things together overall. The score was good too," said the 22-year-old after a morale-boosting win ahead of the worlds in March in Saitama.

"I can add a bit more points (through the grade of execution). Quality will be decisive at the worlds and I hope to take it on showing the best jumps, spins and steps I currently can."

Mihara, also appearing at the upcoming worlds, moved up from third after the short program to finish second on 203.23. Having contracted flu earlier this month, the resulting lack of training held her back as she settled for third in the free skate.

"My condition wasn't really good. It was positive that I could hang in there, not giving up," said the 23-year-old.

Eighteen-year-old Kawabe had the second-best score in the free skate, jumping from ninth to third to finish on 192.46.

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