China's champion pair pursuing perfection

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, December 5, 2019
Adjust font size:
China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong perform in the pairs short program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Sapporo, Japan, on Nov 22. [Photo/VCG]

Sui, Han bidding to add GP Final gold to collection

China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong are striving for perfection as they bid to win their first ever gold medal at the International Skating Union's (ISU) Grand Prix Final, which starts on Thursday in Turin.

After an impressive season on the circuit, the two-time world champions are tipped to top the podium in Italy but can expect tough competition from compatriots Peng Cheng and Jin Yang, who were runners-up last year in Vancouver. Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, as well as emerging Russian duo Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, are also expected to challenge for medals.

Sui and Han, who won silver at last year's Olympics, have triumphed this year at the Cup of China and NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan, and arrive in Italy with a season's best of 228.37 points.

However, despite their favorites tag, they are taking nothing for granted in Turin.

"Even though we won two trophies in a row at home and in Sapporo, we feel we still have room to improve," Sui told China Sports Daily.

"We mad some tiny errors during our Sapporo routine which helped expose a technical issue which was hampering the consistency of our execution.

"Our goal is to perform to the best of our ability in Turin and, from there, to go for the best possible result at the world championships (in Montreal in March)."

Hanyu's history bid

In the men's competition, Japan's Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will bid to become the first skater to win five golds at the GP final.

Hanyu returns to the elite six-skater event after a two-year absence looking to topple US rival Nathan Chen.

Hanyu, who turns 25 this week, won four consecutive Grand Prix Final titles between 2013 and 2016, and a fifth would see him overtake Russian great Yvegeny Plushenko and Irina Slutskaya.

The two-time Olympic champion has been in fine form with two of the highest scores this season and wins at Skate Canada and the NHK Trophy.

Two-time world champion Chen, 20, also has two victories - at Skate America and the French Grand Prix - as he targets back-to-back titles in the Final.

Chinese champion Jin Boyang, a two-time world bronze medalist, is also expected to be in contention for a podium place, but Hanyu has no doubt who is main rival will be.

"I know it will be a fight between Nathan and me," he said.

Chen toppled Hanyu at last year's worlds and has been on a winning streak since finishing fifth at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

'Quad Queen'

In the women's event, Japan's Rika Kihira and US newcomer Bradie Tennell will bid to thwart Russia's Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova, who wants to reclaim the title she lost last year to 17-year-old Kihira in Vancouver.

Russia's Alena Kostornaia, Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova are also a threat in their first senior season, with two wins each in the Grand Prix series.

Trusova-dubbed the "Quad Queen"-has been attempting four quad jumps in her program on her way to wins at Skate Canada and the Cup of Russia.

In ice dancing, four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, are on course to reclaim the title after record scores this year.

They missed last year's final through injury, with Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue the defending champs

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from