AFP – Reigning Olympic champion Kim Yu-na set herself up as a contender to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals with a runaway women’s victory at the World Figure Skating Championships.

The South Korean superstar left the field in her wake Saturday as she delivered a second picture-perfect performance in her return to International Skating Union competition after a two-year hiatus.

Kim scored 148.34 points for her masterful “Les Miserables” free skate, which opened with a flawless triple lutz-triple toe loop jump combination and brought the cheering crowd to its feet 10 seconds before she wound down her final spin.

Kim amassed a total of 218.31 points to take the world crown ahead of defending titleholder Carolina Kostner of Italy, who was competing in her 11th worlds.

Kostner committed two major errors, including a fall on her final triple jump, in her enchanting Bolero routine, but it was a valiant effort for the affable competitor who suffered a nose bleed just as she was called to take her starting position.

Intermittently throughout the programme, droplets of blood splattered onto the ice.

She scored 131.03 points for the free skate routine and 197.80 in total to take second just ahead of Japan’s Mao Asada, who climbed from sixth place after the short programme into third place.

Asada’s ethereal performance to Swan Lake earned 134.37 points and she ended the meet with 196.47 in all. The Japanese opened with her trademark triple Axel but had to land on two feet to keep her balance. She skated the rest of the programme without major incident.

Another Japanese skater, Kanako Murakami, finished just off the podium with 189.73 points, one step up the ladder from her fifth place result last year.

American Ashley Wagner was fifth with 187.34.

Besides aspiring to establish their status as frontrunners for the 2014 Sochi Olympic podium, competitors at these championships also determine how many entries each nation will be allowed for next year’s Winter Olympics.

South Korea, Japan and the United States earned the maximum three entries for women with their results at the meet.