Chinese shine in front of home crowd

Qing Pang and Jian Tong

There was plenty for the home crowd to shout about at the ISU Grand Prix Cup of China with pairs duo Qing Pang and Jian Tong and Han Yan leading their respective disciplines following the first day of competition in Beijing.

2013 Cup of China is the third stop on the six-event figure skating Grand Prix circuit this season and after Russia dominated the early going the hosts fought back.

Han Yan was the first to get the Chinese crowd off their feet as he performed his way to a personal best score of 90.14 in the short program to open up almost a nine-point lead in the competition among men.

Russia’s Maxim Kovtun chasing him in second while Takahiko Kozuka of Japan currently sits third.

Qing Pang and Jian Tong were clearly inspired by Han’s heroics as they followed suit in the pairs event, scoring 70.38 to jump to the top of the scoreboard.

Four-time World champions and 2010 Olympic bronze medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany are only 1.31 points further back in second while Chinese duo Cheng Peng and Hao Zheng are third.

Team Savchenko/Szolkowy deserves great respect for taking risks – they tried a triple throw Axel jump at the end of their program but unfortunately it turned out two-footed.

Earlier on day one in Beijing it was all about Russia as Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev lead the ice dance after scoring 65.70 points for their short dance.

In the ladies singles competition 2013 European silver medalist Adelina Sotnikova is sitting pretty following the short program. 17-year-old from Russia scored 66.03 for her routine and leads the reigning European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy by just over three points, with compatriot Anna Pogorilaya in third place.

Photo: Zimbio

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