2006/2007 Chinese Junior Grand Prix Beijing’ was held from Dec 23rd to Dec 24th in Beijing. Ninety-seven skaters nation-wide at different levels (Pre-Novice/Novice/Junior) participated in this twice a year competition. A Chinese fan went to this event and videotaped a couple of skaters’ long programs. It is very interesting and fun to get a glimpse into China’s future skaters.
I haven’t watched any of North America’s Junior Nationals, so it’s hard for me to compare. But U.S. and Canada have far more junior skaters than China, thus the overall quality of such competition is obviously far better. But I did spot a couple of very talented young Chinese skaters and I am impressed with the huge improvement in spins and spirals of younger Chinese skaters (they used to have only jumps in the past). The flexibility of their female skaters is also quite impressive. They are more balanced skaters than past generations (such as Yan Liu, Dan Fang, ChenJiang Li).
Another impression I have is that junior Chinese skaters are generally very young. The ladies in the junior group are primarily between 11 and 14 years old. Most female skaters simply quit if they cannot master 3-4 different triples over the age of 17.
I have selected a couple of videos (on youtube) to share with you guys, their choreography is nothing to write home about, and the music is generally dreadful. But these videos do give you an idea of their basic skills/jumps/spins/spirals/footwork.
1. Junior ladies
There are two interesting skaters, the first one is Bingwa Geng(means ‘ice baby’ in Chinese). She is only 11-year-old and attempted three different triples: 3z(fall), 3S, 2l, 2a+2t(step out), 2flip, 3t+3t+SEQ (two-footed). Some of the landings were shaky, but she’s young! It is said she could do all five triples in practice and her spins are also nice.
Another girl is Kexin Zhang, she’s about 12 to 13 years old. She completed a 3t+2t+2l, 2a+2a+SEQ, 3s, 3t, 2f, 2lz+2t. Her jumps are solid and she should have no problem in mastering all five triples in the years ahead.
Another interesting girl is 13-year-old Yue Cao. She was selected by Bin Yao as part of the three new pairs. She still competed as a single in this event. Her jumps are awful but presentation skills are beyond her age. Maybe that’s why Bin Yao selected her in the first place.
2. Junior/Novice men:
I am less interested in junior men since they are awfully young and it’s quite hard to predict their future jumping ability at such early ages. But the younger Chinese male skaters are much better spinners, that is for sure.
Here are some highlights.
Jia Xing Liu:
An unknown ‘skating boy’. He is perhaps the most talented male skater in this group. This boy is probably only 11-12 years old but the maturity of his skating is awesome.
Another unknown ‘skating boy’
3. Novice ladies
They are even younger and can only do doubles and singles. However, their flexibility is really impressive. If I did not watch Caroline Zhang’s videos before, this unknown ‘skating girl’s spin and spiral positions are certainly going to awe me!
yu xiao yu
Finally, I would give my most impressive award to this 8-year-old little girl wang xue han. She is absolutely awesome. She can do all five doubles. Her presence on the ice makes you hard to believe she is only 8 years old!!
For another treat, this is the pairs silver medallist!(only three pairs). It’s just a torture to have another 8-year-old to practice pairs. But she is sweet and very shy according to some accounts. They got a silver medallist certificate signed by Shen & Zhao in the end!