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Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007

Fires force Mao, Mai Asada to evacuate Calif. residence

Staff writer

Figure skaters Mao and Mai Asada, who train in the United States under the tutelage of coach Rafael Arutunian in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., have been forced to evacuate from their residence close to the local ice rink due to the raging wildfires in Southern California.

"They moved down to Lakewood two days ago," said IMG Tokyo's Mariko Wada, who manages the Asada sisters, by telephone Wednesday night. "They are looking for a rink now. The regular rink is closed."

The timing could not be worse for Mai, who is scheduled to compete in this weekend's Grand Prix season-opening Skate America along with world champion Miki Ando."

Mao, currently the world's top-ranked female skater, will begin her Grand Prix campaign at Skate Canada in Quebec City next month.

Wada, who is flying to Reading, Pa., this Friday for Skate America, said that Mao and Mai are together with their parents in California.

"They called me early Tuesday morning. They are all together. Everybody is safe."

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