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November 5, 2017

DoubleRussian triumph at Cup of China


November 5, 2017

BEIJING: Russia dominated the figure skating Cup of China as 15-year-old Alina Zagitova won gold on her grand prix debut and Mikhail Kolyada triumphed in the men’s competition here on Saturday.

The French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron meanwhile became the first ice-dance team to break the 200-point barrier as they blazed their way to a record victory.

The starlet Zagitova’s victory is all the more significant with February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea looming large.

The 2017 World Junior Champion catapulted from fourth to first in the ladies free skate in the Chinese capital, the third of six events in the ISU Grand Prix series.

Second overall was Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi (212.52 points) and another Russian, Elena Radionova, took bronze (206.82).

Performing to “Don Quixote”, Zagitova nailed a triple Lutz-triple loop combination on her way to a score of 144.44 points and total 213.88.

“To win the gold medal in my first grand prix means a lot to me, but I need to continue to work and I cannot rest on my laurels,” the teenager said.

“I was not pleased with my short programme (69.44 on Friday) but I was pleased with the free skate as I did everything.”

Kolyada made it a double Russian gold with his total of 279.38 points, with home Chinese hope Jin Boyang taking silver (264.48) and the American Max Aaron — who came first in the free skate — bronze (259.69).

The 22-year-old Kolyada, who dazzled in his short programme on Friday, held on to his overnight lead to seal a maiden grand prix victory.

There was a major surprise in the disappointing form of Spain’s two-time world champion Javier Fernandez, who finished well off the podium, down in a modest sixth.

Papadakis and Cizeron were untouchable over the two days, racking up a personal-best score of 119.33 points on the night and a record 200.43 in total.

The Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates took a distant silver and Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev won bronze.

“It was a great performance for us and we are happy with how we performed and with our score,” Papadakis said after their faultless skate to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.—AFP