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Daisuke Takahashi Pulls Out of Cup of China; Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski Also Withdraw

Daisuke Takahashi has withdrawn from Cup of China, which begins Thursday in Beijing at the Beijing Capital Gymnasium. U.S. pairs team Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski also pulled put of the event, which is the third leg of the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Takahashi, 22, injured his right knee on Oct 31 during a practice session. The Japanese media is speculating that his injury may be a ligament tear. Takahashi is expected to undergo tests Nov. 7. Local news agencies have also reported that Takahashi can not put any pressure on the injured leg and may miss the entire season.

Takahashi, a three-time Japanese champion and the 2007 World silver medalist, is scheduled to compete at NHK Trophy Nov. 27-30 in Tokyo.

Last season, Takahashi won Skate America and NHK Trophy and placed second at the Grand Prix Final before winning the 2008 Four Continents title. He was fourth at the 2008 World Championships.

Castile fell during practice in late October while attempting a triple split twist, suffering a severe contusion to her right heel. “Though [her injury] has greatly improved, she can not yet skate on it without severe pain,” said her physician, Stephen I. Goldman, of the Novi Center for Manipulative and Sports Medicine.

Johnny Johns, the team’s longtime coach, believes the decision to withdraw from the competition is the right one. “I felt it was in the best interest of Brooke’s recovery, and the best interest of the team, to pull her off the ice for the remainder of this week, to give her foot more time to heal,” Johns said. “We are hoping with rest and therapy she will be ready to go for Russia.”

Castile and Okolski are scheduled to compete Nov. 20-23 at the Cup of Russia in Moscow.

Castile and Okolski withdrew from both of their Grand Prix Series events last season, also because of an injury to Castile’s foot. They came back to win the bronze at both the 2008 U.S. Championships and the Four Continents Championships.

The pair will be replaced in Beijing by Chelsi Guillen and Danny Curzon. The team won bronze at the 2008 U.S. Championships as juniors and finished 10th at the 2008 World Junior Championships.

“We are disappointed for Brooke and Ben, because they are great skaters and great friends of ours,” Curzon said. “But we are excited for the opportunity to make our senior debut at the Cup of China, and we are confident that we will be able to compete on such short notice.”