TOKYO (AFP) – World Championships silver medallist Tatsuki Machida is retiring from competitive skating.
Machida, 24, made the surprise announcement on Sunday after finishing fourth in the national figure skating championship during the weekend in Nagano, Japan.
He had been selected to compete at the upcoming world championships by the Japan Skating Federation, but turned down the prestigious spot, which was handed to Takahito Mura.
“I can proudly put a period on my career without any regrets,” Machida told fans gathered at the Nagano Big Hat arena.
“I am clearing the path to my second career and I sincerely thank you.”
The skater said he planned to study sports management at Tokyo’s Waseda University.
Machida won the men’s silver medal at the world championships in March in Saitama, north of Tokyo, behind gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu.
Machida finished fifth at this year’s Sochi Olympic Games. This season, he won the Skate America event in the ISU Grand Prix series.