Takahashi, Asada put Japan top at figure skating GP finals
- Published: 8/12/2012 at 02:46 AM
- Online news:
Former world champions Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada put Japan top after the opening day of the ISU Grand Prix figure skating series finals being staged in 2014 Winter Olympics host city Sochi on Friday.
Japan's Daisuke Takahashi performs during his men short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Sochi. Takahashi, 26, outshone two-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan with an error-free rock'n'roll medley.
Olympic men's bronze medallist Takahashi, 26, outshone two-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan with an error-free rock'n'roll medley on the ice of the new 12,000-seater Iceberg arena in the Black Sea resort city.
The 2010 world champion was the only skater to perform cleanly to earn a season's best 92.29 points, to lead the men's short programme after countrywoman Asada earlier narrowly took top spot in the women's event.
"It was the first time this season that I was able to do my quad in the short programme and I'm very happy about that," Takahashi said.
"For the past few days I haven't had the best conditions but I think my overall practice has produced the outcome."
Canada's Chan, the undisputed king of men's skating and a red-hot favourite for the title, also landed a solid quad jump but fell behind after a mistake on his jump combination but nevertheless achieved a season's best 89.29.
Four of the six-man field are Japanese with Yuzuru Hanyu, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday, in third after achieving 87.17 with compatriot Takahiko Kozuka fourth 86.39. Spain's Javier Fernandez is fifth ahead of Japan's Tatsuki Machida.
Earlier former two-time world champion Asada grabbed the women's lead with her flawless "I Got Rhythm" routine earning 66.96 points.
American Ashley Wagner achieved her season's best mark for her "Red Violin" programme which puts her 0.52 beind Asada going into Saturday's free skating final.
"Today I was able to execute all the elements as I should have done," said Olympic silver medallist Asada. "Tomorrow I have to make sure that I am psyched up and ready to skate in the free programme as I did today."
Another Japanese skater Akiko Suzuki, the world championships' bronze medallist, was third with her season's best mark of 65.99 points.
Finland's Kiira Korpi is fourth ahead of Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamsheva with American Christina Gao occupying the final sixth position.
In pairs, the absence of the four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany opened the way for home hopes Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, who lead after their "The Godfather" routine earned them 73.46.
Compatriots Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, also looked solid and got their career's best 70.14, with China's Pang Qing and Tong Jian, the Olympic silver medallists, third after minor errors in their "Scott and Fran's Paso Doble" routine.
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2011 world champions, are leading the ice dance competition by 1.93 points on Canada's reigning Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
The Americans' confident short dance to "Giselle" gave them a season's best 73.20.
"We both feel like this programme was a big improvement for us over our first two competitions of the season which is something we're aiming for (on being on Olympic ice)," Davis said.
"Worlds is our goal this year, (we want) to become the World Champions. We're aiming towards that and this is a good stepping stone," White added.
France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat are third.
The tournament wraps up on Saturday.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency