Figure skating: Grand Prix final cancelled after Japan shuts borders

FILE PHOTO: Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - NHK Trophy - Yoyogi National Stadium 1st Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan - November 13, 2021 Japan's Kaori Sakamoto in action during the Gala Exhibition REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japan Skating Federation (JSF) said on Thursday that figure skating's Grand Prix final, one of the key events leading into the Winter Olympics, has been cancelled after the country closed its borders to non-Japanese visitors.

Japan 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.

The Grand Prix final, which was scheduled for the western city of Osaka from Dec. 9-12, is seen as a key step on the road to the Winter Olympics, set for Feb. 4-20 in Beijing.

"In light of the government suspending the admission of non-Japanese visitors as announced on Nov. 29, we are having to cancel," the JSF said in a statement.

Americans Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou and Jason Brown, and Russia's Mikhail Kolyada were all on the roster for the men's event, along with Japan's Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno.

The women's singles were set to be contested by Japan's Kaori Sakamoto and five Russian skaters.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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