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Li wins men's free skating demonstration
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National champion Li Chengjiang claimed men's free skating demonstration title in Qiqihar, Northeast China on Thursday, which was his first gold medal at the National Winter Games.


Li, representing northeast China's Changchun City, finished his flawless performance with a total of 102.10 points. The silver medal was won by Wu Jialiang from Harbin City at 96.40 and the bronze medal went to Zhang Min from Qiqihar at 96.20.


To the music of Chicago, Li started with a graceful trip axel and triple toeloop, followed by a triple loop and triple axel. He then pulled off circular step sequence and an expressive triple salchow.


"I have high expectation for the Winter Games, not just one gold," the 29-year-old Li told Xinhua. He expected to give perfect performance in the events of the coming two days, and demonstrate what he was trained in recent days to the spectators.


It was the third and would be the last time that Li participated in the National Winter Games. It took him nearly ten years to clinch his first gold at the National Winter Games.


"I hope to show the beauty of figure skating to home fans in my performances," Li said.


The smiling Li told reporters he was a little bit "nervous" before giving performance on Thursday. However, he was inspired by exciting fans and left them with clear-cut and skillful jumps and spins.


"I need time to seek my best condition in the competition. The most important task for me right now is to have good training," Li said.


Compared with free skating and short program, he considered it easier to do free skating demonstration. "I felt more relaxed in the competition of free skating demonstration."


The 23-year-old Wu Jialiang and the 32-year-old Zhang Min finished silver and bronze respectively with slim gap in their scores, only 0.2 points.


The 11th National Winter Games will officially open on Friday night and end on January 28.


More than one thousand athletes gathered here at the two-week National Winter Games to compete for 92 gold medals.


(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2008)

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