Figure skating: Japan's Hanyu smashes mystical 300-point mark

Japan's high-flying Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu became the first skater to break the 300-point mark on Saturday as he soared to victory at the NHK Trophy in breathtaking style.

The 20-year-old obliterated the mystical barrier in Nagano, posting a combined world record total of 322.40 points after a jaw-dropping free programme which also smashed Canadian Patrick Chan's previous high, sending thousands of squealing female fans into raptures.

Hanyu's free score of 216.07 was also the first ever to clear the 200-point mark and his astonishing aggregate tally was on a entirely different level to Chan's previous best of 295.27 set in Paris two years ago.

"I don't believe it," Hanyu told reporters after being greeted with a bear-hug from Canadian coach Brian Orser and calling out "arigato" (thank you) to his adoring public.

"That score really was a surprise. I was so nervous before I skated but I wanted to go for it. I wanted to show that I'm the Olympic champion, here on a rink where the Olympics were held (in 1998). Despite the score, I still think there is room to improve." It is difficult to see how after an exquisite performance which could redefine the sport.

Hanyu, who covered his face with his hands in disbelief as his score was announced, majestically nailed all of his jumps, including four quads and seven triples, in a high-risk programme which left his rivals way back.

He punched the air in joy at the end of his skate as the crowd erupted before gliding over to a television camera holding his index finger aloft to underline his status as figure skating's crown prince.

"It's hard to describe what I'm feeling right now," said Hanyu, shaking his head.

Chinese teenager Jin Boyang posted a score of 170.79 to finish a distant runner-up with a total of 266.43, joining Hanyu in next month's Grand Prix Final in Barcelona. Japan's Takahito Mura took third with a total of 242.21.

Russian Maxim Kovtun had a free programme to forget, making several bad mistakes to slip from fourth after the short skate to finish 10th on 212.63 and miss out on a trip to Spain.

Japan's triple world champion Mao Asada was upstaged by countrywoman Satoko Miyahara, who took the gold in the women's competition after a superb free skate.

The pint-sized Miyahara, who led after Friday's short programme, held her nerve after several wipe-outs before her, posting 133.58 points for a winning total of 203.11, the first time she has broken the 200-point mark.

"It hasn't sunk in yet but I'm very happy to get through it," said Miyahara after qualifying for Barcelona. "I was pretty nervous so I was just hoping to hit my jumps, I didn't care what my score was." Asada, coming back to the sport after a year off, settled for third on a total of 183.12 points, behind American Courtney Hicks, who held off the Japanese favourite despite a painful-looking crash on a triple lutz attempt.

World champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada won the pairs competition with an overall score of 202.72, from China's Yu Xiaoyu and Jin Yang (191.02) with Americans Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim (190.66) third.