Jin defends Cup of China figure skating title

CHONGQING, China (AP) — Two-time world bronze medalist Jin Boyang used strong jumps to win the free skate on Saturday and defend his title at the Cup of China.

The Chinese skater, who was first after the short program, landed two quadruple jumps but touched down on a third on his way to 186.95 points for a total of 290.89. He skated to “The House of the Rising Sun.”

Yan Han, the silver medalist at last year’s Cup of China, finished second with 264.81 points and Chinese junior champion Chen Yudong was third with 226.21.

Jin opened with a quad lutz and followed with a quad toe-double toe loop. He touched down with his hand on the second quad toe and fell on the back end of a triple lutz-triple toe combination but avoided any other major mistakes.

“I am really pleased considering that I had only really prepared for two weeks and I had only one run-through of my program before,” Jin said. “There is still a lot to improve, jumps to add. I did like 70 percent of the program.”

The Cup of China is the second event of the International Skating Union’s Grand Prix series but has been scaled down due to the coronavirus.

There were no spectators allowed at the Chongqing Huaxi Culture and Sports Center. The competition normally draws skaters from around the world but was limited to domestic athletes because of travel restrictions.

COVID-19 has forced Olympic qualifiers and other major international competitions in China to be canceled or relocated, but the staging of the ISU event is seen as a sign that things are slowly returning to normal.

With the Beijing Olympics scheduled for February 2022, the Cup of China is being used by the China Skating Association to gauge the progress of some of its most promising skaters.

Chen Hongyi, first after the short program, won the free skate to capture the women’s title with 186.53 points. Li Angel was second with 148.33 and Jin Minzhi took bronze with 135.43.

Chen opened with a triple lutz-euler-triple salchow combination followed by a triple toe-double toe, triple loop, triple lutz and slightly two-footed a triple flip-double toe.

“I am not completely satisfied,” Chen said. “I regret that I did not go for the triple-triple in my second jumping pass and I missed one Axel.”

Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu held on to their lead from Friday and placed first in the free dance to win the ice dance event with 206.84 points. Chen Hong and Sun Zhouming were second with 192.26 followed by Ning Wangqi and Wang Chao with 171.90.

Peng Cheng and Jin Yang won the pairs gold medal with 223.90 points. Wang Yuchen and Huang Yihang took the silver with 175.40 and Zhu Daizifei and Liu Yuhang were third with 140.37.

The next round of the ISU Grand Prix series is the Rostelecom Cup in Russia from Nov. 20-22.

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