Former world figure skating champion Midiro Ito has applied for reinstatement that will make her eligible for future World Championships and the 1998 Winter Olympics in her native Japan.

However, the biggest surprise in the list released today by the International Skating Union was the omission of last year's Olympic gold medalist, Oksana Baiul of Ukraine.Ineligible skaters had until April 1 to apply, via their national federations, for reinstatement. During last month's World Championships at Birmingham, England, the ISU tried to entice many of the sport's big names to return by introducing prize money for all its competitions starting next season.

The ISU not only runs the World Championships and skating events at the Olympics, but also five other prestigious events it hopes to mold into a big-money Grand Prix circuit next season.

Those who took up the ISU's offer include Ito, former Russian ice dance world champions Maia Usova and Alexander Zhulin, and Canada's Josee Chouinard. None of the big-name ineligible Americans - such as Brian Boitano, Nancy Kerrigan and Kristi Yamaguchi - applied to come back, although it's likely the ISU will set a new deadline at its 1996 Congress in Israel.

Today's development is the latest in a tug-of-war between the ISU and the made-for-TV entrepreneurs, who have attracted skaters such as Baiul, Ito and Kerrigan with big-money appearance fees to skate in events that draw big ratings. Such competitions are not conducted under ISU rules, thus the skaters participating become ineligible for the Worlds and Olympics.

While the ISU failed to entice the highly marketable Baiul to come back, it can claim 1989 world champion Ito.