Two-time World champion Mao Asada plans to compete at the Japan Figure Skating Championships in Kadoma next week, less than a month after her mother's death. If she wins, it will be her fifth national title in six years (last year she was second after eventual World champion Miki Ando).
Asada's mother passed away the morning of the beginning of the Grand Prix Final last week after a battle with liver cirrhosis at a hospital in their hometown of Nagoya, while Mao was flying home after withdrawing the day before the short program began. She had not landed in Japan when her mother died.
Mao Asada's management agency IMG said the skater would not change her immediate schedule, including the national championships next week which will serve as trials for the world championships in Nice, France, in March. "It will satisfy my mother if I never fail to continue doing what I should toward my dream, as I promised to my family while she was alive", Asada said.
"Somehow it is still hard to believe that she is gone but I feel she is watching me closer than ever."
Mao's mother had been the one to encourage her daughter to start skating at the age of five along with her elder sister Mai.
Mao's misfortune reminded the figure skating world of Canadian Joannie Rochette, who managed to overcome her heartbreak and clinch bronze at the Vancouver Olympics just four days after the death of her mother.