Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Russia keep supremacy, Japan settle with a silver at Figure Skating Worlds

23 Mar 2019, 22:41 ( 27 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Victoria Sinitsina (L)/Nikita Katsalapov of Russia hug each other after the ice dance free dance competition of 2019 ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on March 23, 2019. Photo Xinhua.

The 2019 ISU Figure Skating World Championships ended its competition on Saturday. Powerhouse Russia dominated the ladies event, while the hosts Japan only took a silver by their super star Yuzuru Hanyu.

   Russia were the biggest winners with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova and Olympic runner-up Evgenia Medvedeva showed their strength and claimed the gold and the bronze medals respectively here in Saitama, while the silver was taken by Kazakhstan's Elizabeth Tursynbaeva, who wrote history to land a quad salchow in her free skate.

   Japan had expected the gold medal as rising star Rika Kihira could land triple Axel and won the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents this season. In front of home crowd, Kihira fell in her signature Axel in both programs and only ranked fourth. The other two Japanese skaters, Kaori Sakamoto and Stoke Miyahara, took fifth and sixth respectively.

   China's Chen Hongyi made her world championships debut with a 19th finish.

   Russia are also strong in pairs. Three Russian pairs made the free skate, and took second, third and sixth respectively. They also took a silver in ice dance.

   China won the gold medal with two strong programs by Olympic runners-up Sui Wenjing/Han Cong. The 2017 world champions missed the last edition due to injuries.

   Sui/Han were sidelined most of the season as Sui went through an ankle surgery. They were in bad form one week before the Worlds because Sui injured again in her training.

   Another Chinese pair, Peng Cheng/Jin Yang took fourth, their best finish at the world championships.

   "We will do something to prevent injuries," said head coach Zhao Hongbo. "This year is the first year in a new Olympic term, so we are under some adjustment."

   China also improved their ice dance as Wang Shiyue/Liu Xinyu took 15th, their best result at world championships.

   Wang/Liu was the only Asian pair in the free skate. France's Pyeongchang Olympic runners-up Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron met no rivals at Worlds and they will be the biggest gold favorite at the Beijing 2022. 

   The men's title was claimed by American Nathan Chen, who performed two flawless program, though Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu caught most spotlight.

   The Worlds were the first competition Hanyu took part in since he injured his right foot last November. It seemed the double Olympic champion was not in his best form as he made minor mistakes in both his two programs.

   Vincent Zhou of the United States took the bronze while Japan's Shoma Uno came fourth.

   China's Jin Boyang fell in his short program and only finished fifth.