Golden Skate

Sui and Han defend Junior Grand Prix Pairs title

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China won their second consecutive Junior Pairs title at the 2011-12 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China were golden once more at the 2011-12 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Friday in Quebec City.

The new Canadian team of Katherine Bobak and Ian Beharry took the silver, while USA’s Britney Simpson and Matthew Blackmer, another new duo, clinched the bronze.

Sui and Han went for a throw quad Salchow and quad twist in their ambitious Flamenco program. While Sui only slightly two-footed the quad Salchow, she collapsed on her partner’s shoulder on the twist, which was subsequently downgraded.

The team also struggled with the solo jumps as Sui doubled the toeloop while Han singled the Axel. The throw triple flip and the non-jump elements were good, and the Chinese picked up a level four for the spins, the death spiral, and the lifts to score 103.00 points. They won with a total of 160.43 points.

“We are not too pleased with this performance as we made some errors and we got a low score,” said Han. “We made errors on both solo jumps. The quad twist wasn’t too good either. I don’t know why we made these errors.”

He defended their decision to go for the quads. “We want to push the limits.”

“We felt quite good when we went out, but we weren’t able to show our best,” added Sui. “We didn’t skate as well as we had last year.”

Bobak and Beharry had another clean performance in the long program to Spartacus. They completed a triple twist, a double Axel-double Axel sequence, and a throw triple loop. The Canadians achieved a new season’s best of 99.88 points and totaled 152.65.

“It felt amazing with the short program and it felt better with going in being second overall,” Beharry said.

“With everything going on (their first Junior Grand Prix Final), it gets to be a bit nerve racking, but it was a great experience to learn how to deal with that,” added Bobak.

Skating to the Titanic soundtrack, Simpson and Blackmer produced a double twist, double Axel, and two triple throws. Their lifts were a level three, while the death spiral and pair combination spin a level four. The Americans earned 95.44 points to rank fifth in the free skating, but they held on to the bronze with a total of 146.35 points.

“We are very excited,” claimed Simpson. “We did what we came here to do, which is two season best scores and skate how we have been training at home with two clean programs. It was so amazing that the crowd kept us going and we got more into the program. We focused on components, which is what we do best.”

Ekaterina Petaikina and Maxim Kurdyukov of Russia were edged out of the podium by just 0.18 points when they finished fourth with 146.17 points. The Muscovites hit a triple toe, throw triple flip, triple twist, and level-four lifts in their routine to the popular Assassin’s Tango. They earned 97.42 points for the free program.

“It went well, and no matter what the result is, it was good for us to come here and to give two clean performances,” said Petaikina. “There are only a few minor things that we can fix easily.”

“We’re going to Russian (senior) Nationals next and we’ll have to switch to the senior program with different elements in the short program,” added Kurdyukov. “We have only ten days. The most important event for us will be Junior Nationals, because the result will decide if we get to go to Junior Worlds.”

Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China gave a solid performance to Requiem for a Dream. Yu fell on the side by side triple toe, however, they did the double Axel-double Axel sequence, triple twist, and two triple throws. They finished fifth with 144.71 points.

“We performed well today,” said Jin. “There was just one error on the solo jump.”

“We need to gel as a team and to skate more as a whole,” he continued. “Now we will go on and watch the senior teams. Their level is really high. Of course, we’ll root for our teammates Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang.”

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