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AFP
November 4, 2017

Kolyada, Daleman on top at Cup of China

Sports

AFP
November 4, 2017

BEIJING: Mikhail Kolyada of Russia and Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman surged to the summit of the men’s and women’s competitions respectively on Friday with their eye-catching short programmes at the Cup of China.

With February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea looming large, the showpiece in the Chinese capital takes on extra significance this year.The crowd in Beijing, the third stop in the ISU Grand Prix series, were given a treat as the stars of world figure skating graced the ice.

Kolyada, who came third in the final standings in Moscow last month, romped the short programme with his daunting personal best of 103.13 points, comfortably ahead of China’s fancied Jin Boyang (93.89) and Spain’s two-time world champion Javier Fernandez (90.57).

The surprise leader, who skated to Piano Concerto No 23 by Mozart and opened his programme with a huge quadruple lutz, said: “I did not look so happy at the end of my programme because this is only the short programme and everything will be decided tomorrow.

“So I did not let my emotions out. Overall, I enjoyed my performance today,” added the 22-year-old Russian champion.The 19-year-old Daleman upstaged the rest of the women’s field to earn 70.65 points and a narrow lead over Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi (70.53) and the Russian Elena Radionova (70.48).

Daleman, whose simple red outfit contrasted with much of the bling on show from the other skaters, opened her programme to “Habanera” from Carmen by nailing a triple toe-triple toe combination.

“It is another stepping stone to a long season and I’m very happy I’m starting off my Grand Prix season with a new season’s best,” the 2017 world bronze medallist said.“There is still lots of room for improvement and I can’t wait building to it.”

In the ice dance, two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron obliterated the opposition with their short dance to hits Thinking Out Loud and Shape of You by Ed Sheeran.

The French pair led Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States by more than eight points and in the process set a new personal best of 81.10 points.“It was a very good performance, especially for the beginning of the season,” Papadakis said.

In the pairs short programme, home favourites and world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong soared into the lead with 80.14 points, in front of fellow Chinese Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao (71.37) and the Italian duo of Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise (63.76).

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