Figure skating: Kim Yu Na takes it easy in return after foot injury

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's two-time world figure skating champion Kim Yu Na said on Tuesday she had chosen a relaxed return to competition, as she resumes her preparations for the Winter Olympics following an injury.

"I think I should be able to skate more relaxed than in the past," the reigning Olympic champion told reporters before departing for Croatia to take part in her first competitive outing of the season, the relatively marginal "Golden Spin" event in Zagreb.

The 23-year-old has been kept off the ice by a metatarsal injury in her right foot that she suffered in September.

Kim said she has been slowly working herself back to competitive shape in an attempt to peak in time for the Olympics in Sochi in February.

"I started my season later than others, and I've worked that much harder to make up for the lost time," Yonhap news agency quoted her as saying.

"The biggest goal is to skate clean programmes and leave a good impression, and also give myself good memories. The Zagreb event is not as big as a Grand Prix stop, and I hope to stay relaxed on the ice."

The South Korean superstar had made a competitive return in December last year after a break of more than 18 months from the sport.

In March she won her second world title (her first was in 2009) in Canada, setting herself up as a strong contender for back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

Known as "Queen Yu Na" in her native country, Kim won silver at the 2010 world championships, after which she took a lengthy break.

She finished second once more at the event a year later before dropping out of competition again. She has said that she would retire after the 2014 Sochi Games and seek to become a member of the International Olympic Committee.