Takahashi, Tran out of Grand Prix, worlds doubtful

Japanese world bronze medalists sidelined up to six months with Takahashi's shoulder injury

Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran were the first Japanese pair to reach a worlds podium.
Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran were the first Japanese pair to reach a worlds podium. (Getty Images)


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(10/26/2012) - Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran, probably the biggest surprise success story of the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships, may be unable to defend their world bronze medal in London, Ontario next March.

The young pair, winners of Japan's first-ever world pairs medal, were forced to withdraw from Cup of China and their second Grand Prix event, NHK Trophy, after the 20-year-old Takahashi aggravated a shoulder injury.

According to Richard Gauthier, who coaches the pair in Montreal, the injury, which occurred while practicing a lift, was some time in the making.

"The shoulder started dislocating in April and it happened five or six times," Gauthier said in Windsor, Ontario, where he is coaching Canadian champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford at Skate Canada. "Last Friday, I said we needed an MRI, and it was hard getting one in Montreal, so they went to Japan.

"They decided they are going to operate next Tuesday and put the ligaments tighter together, so she is off four to six months. Hopefully, it might heal soon enough. We might try to get ready for worlds, but the Grand Prix is definitely out."

While his partner recuperates in Japan, Tran, 22, will remain in Montreal, attending school and training his jumps daily.

Gauthier thinks the injury is something better taken care of now than later.

"They have a chance to go to worlds (in 2013), or may have to wait [until] the year after," he said. "But I told her, 'If you don't have this operation, your arm will fall off; you won't be able to carry a purse after you are retired.' There is life after skating, and we need to get this fixed."