Grand Prix comes to world’s best skating audience
By Olga Fluegge
2013 NHK Trophy, the next, fourth competition of ISU Grand Prix Series, will take place November 8 -10 in Tokyo, Japan.
For the first time NHK Trophy, as an international competition, was held in 1979. Figure skating is extremely popular in Japan: tickets for the event, which will be held in Yoyogy National Gymnasium, were sold out during few hours!
51 skaters/couples from ten ISU countries will compete this week in the Japanese capital. Some of them have a good chance to reach the Grand Prix Final.
In pairs event the headliners are the reigning World champions Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia. Who knows, maybe we can expect a new world record from this team – their recent records were made just a few weeks ago in Detroit.
The other top medal contenders are Wenjing Siu/Cong Han (CHN), their teammates Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang, who won the bronze medals at 2013 Cup of China, and the U.S. national champions Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir.
The deep field in ice dance event will be leading by two-time World champions Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA). Anna Capellini/Luka Lanotte (ITA), Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) and Elena Ilinych/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) aim for the silver and bronze medals.
The men´s event features several strong skaters. Javier Fernandez of Spain, 2013 World bronze medalist, who skated very well at Japan Open earlier this season, will be challenged by 2013 Skate Canada bronze medalist Nobunary Oda (JPN), 2013 Skate America silver medal winner Adam Rippon (USA) and 2013 Skate America bronze medalist Max Aaron (USA).
Daisuke Takahashi might skate much better on his home terrain and in front of beloved audience. Russians Sergei Voronov and Konstantin Menshov did well at B competitions in October, so we can expect good performances from them.
The main highlight of the whole competition will be definitely the ladies event with participation of a two-time World champion Mao Asada (JPN). Her main rivals will be a teammate Akiko Suzuki and Gracie Gold (USA), who placed at 2013 at Skate Canada second and third respectively.
14-year-old Elena Radionova of Russia is able to make a sensation in Tokyo and will be definitely try to do it, taking into account her amazing debut and bronze at 2013 Skate America.
At last but not least, two newcomers, who will make their Grand Prix debut, to have an eye on: Japan’s Satoko Miahara in ladies event and Narumi Takahashi/Riumi Kihara in pair skating competition.