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Siao Him Fa surprises; takes Cup of China gold

by Paula Slater
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Adam Siao Him Fa

France’s Adam Siao Him Fa edged out Shoma Uno of Japan for the 2023 Cup of China Men’s title on November 11, 2023, in Chongqing.

2023 Cup of China: Men

Adam Siao Him Fa of France surprised, taking the 2023 Cup of China gold medal ahead of two-time Olympic medalist Shoma Uno of Japan. With this win, he’s qualified for the Grand Prix Final in Beijing later next month. Mikhail Shaidorov of Kazakhstan stayed the course throughout to take his first Grand Prix medal, the bronze, in Chongqing.

Adam Siao Him Fa

Siao Him Fa took a fall on a quad toe in his short program to “The Prophet,” but landed a solid quad Lutz and triple Axel. The quad toe was intended to be a combination jump, leaving points on the table for the skaters trailing him. However, all spins and footwork were graded a level four with high GOEs, and the 2023 European champion scored 91.21 points for second place.

“It was my second Grand Prix in a row, and I did not have a lot of time to train at home,” said the 2023 Grand Prix de France champion. “So, I am quite happy with what I did.”

He shared that his boot broke in practice on Thursday, but that he had brought a spare pair of skates with him.

“It was quite terrible, but it was OK,” he said. “I had enough time to manage this. I tried not to panic too much. Luckily it happened yesterday and not at the event.”

Siao Him Fa earned a new personal best (207.17) for his free skate to music by Max Richter, improving his score since Grand Prix de France. He was near-solid except for putting a good down on a quad toe-triple toe. His jumps included a quad Lutz, quad Salchow, quad toe and two triple Axels. All spins and footwork earned high GOEs and he finished first in the free skate and overall (298.38).

“I’m satisfied renewing my season’s best given the condition of a back-to-back Grand Prix,” he said. “The adjustment was hard and I still have jet lag. I will go back to France for a rest first and then prepare for the Final.”

Shoma Uno

This was the first international event of the season for Uno. His short program to music from the Everything Everywhere All at Once soundtrack featured a quad flip, quad toe-triple toe and triple Axel. All three jumps were clean, and the 2018 Olympic silver medalist also racked up high grades of execution (GOE) on his level-four spins and level-three footwork.

“I did a good job with the jumps and the whole package,” said Uno. “The speed was not as good. As for the presentation, I don’t think I did such a good job. At this competition, I don’t think about the result or the points, I just want to show my program.”

However, the free skate was not quite as clean. He fell on his opening quad toe, doubled a flip and landed a quad toe on the quarter. Still, his performance was remarkable. The two-time and current World champion produced two triple Axels as well as a quad toe-triple toe, all of which earned high GOEs. The steps were only graded a level two, but all spins were graded a level four. He picked up 174.73 points for second for his routine to “Timelapse” and “Spiegel im Spiegel,” but the total score (279.98) was not enough to maintain the lead and he slipped to second overall.

“Honestly I feel satisfied with my performance,” said the 25-year-old. “The result might not be what was expected by others, but I got fulfillment with the presentation itself as I was able to really emphasize my performance (instead of jumps). I’m aware that my speed and height could be improved, and I will work hard in daily practice.”

His next event will be NHK Trophy.

Mikhail Shaidorov

Shaidorov impressed with a third-place short program to The Matrix, which featured a quad Lutz, triple Axel and quad toe-triple toe. He posted a new personal best of 89.94 points, 10 points more than his outing at Skate Canada two weeks ago.

“Everything went as planned, but there is still room to grow,” said the 2022 World Junior silver medalist. “This is my first competition where I am in such a high placement after the short program. I am happy to sit here with such great skaters as Shoma Uno and Adam Siao Him Fa. It is a big surprise for me! I used to watch them skating and now I am competing on the same ice with them!”

The 19-year-old blasted his last free skate score from Skate Canada by over 12 points with 174.52. The quad Lutz and quad toe were both landed on the quarter, as was the front end of a triple Axel-double Axel sequence. These were the only minor errors in his skate to “Carmina Burana.” Shaidorov also produced four more solid triple jumps while showing level-four spins throughout. He finished third in the free skate and overall (264.46) for his first Grand Prix medal.

“I’m very happy!” he said. “It’s my first time skating after Boyang Jin with so many toys, but I managed to perform well and am pleased with my first senior medal.”

Kazuki Tomono

Japan’s Kazuki Tomono placed sixth (81.63) in his short program to “Underground.” The 2022 Four Continents silver medalist opened with a quad toe-double toe, bug then fell on a quad Salchow and put a hand down on a triple Axel. However, his level-four footwork was very good and received high GOEs.

The national bronze medalist gave a good performance to “Halston,” opening with a quad toe-double toe and quad toe. The Salchow was doubled and he put a foot down on the frontend of a triple Axel-triple Salchow, but he went on to land a five clean triple jumps. His footwork and two spins were graded a level four and he scored 171.45 for fourth place. With a total score of 251.95, he rose from sixth to fourth place overall.

“The Salchow and Axel were undesirable, but the toe is really nice,” said the 23-year-old from Osaka. “I wish I could have done better. I did the best I could.”

Gabriele Frangipani

Italy’s Gabriele Frangipani short program to “Keeping Me Alive” featured a quad toe-triple toe, triple Salchow and triple Axel. The 2023 Nepela Memorial champion also picked up a level four on all three spins to finish fifth with a new season’s best of 85.19.

His free skate to “Io Ci Saro” featured a quad toe and quad Salchow as well as six triple jumps. His only mistake was doubling a Lutz in a combination. Two spins garnered a level four and he placed sixth with 166.40 points. His total score of 251.59 kept him in fifth place overall.

“It’s amazing!” said the 21-year-old. “It’s the best way that I can end this competition!

“I’m from a small town of 3,000 and this is my first time in Chongqing,” said the national bronze medalist. “It is so metropolitan…I even got a bit scared (too big and so many people), but I enjoy Asian cities!”

He will skate next at NHK Trophy.

Sota Yamamoto

Japan’s Sota Yamamoto, who took gold at Skate Canada two weeks ago, finished sixth overall (245.58).

“Yesterday I was always thinking about the Final, but today I managed to focus on my performance,” he said. “I’m happy that I could renew my season’s best. I really regret yesterday’s performance. I want to skate clean in both the short program and free skate next time.

Boyang Jin

China’s Boyang Jin hung on to his opening quad toe in the short program to “Vienna.” The 2019 Four Continents silver medalist proceeded to land a solid triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe while picking up a level for all spins and footwork. He placed fourth with a new season’s best of 87.44.

Unfortunately, he fell on a quad Lutz and made several other costly errors in the free skate to place seventh overall (149.84 / 237.28).

Rounding out the top 12

Sihyeong Lee placed eighth overall (209.13) ahead of Jimmy Ma (205.16). Lee will compete next at Grand Prix Espoo while Ma will take the ice again at NHK Trophy.

China’s Juwen Xu and Daiwei Dai finished 10th (193.79) and 11th (185.56), respectively, followed by USA’s Lucas Broussard (181.15). This was a solo event for all three skaters.

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