Defending champions look strong in pairs

Chinese, Japanese teams top standings again

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han lead the pairs contingent at world juniors.
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han lead the pairs contingent at world juniors. (Getty Images)


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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to
(03/02/2011) - There were no surprises in the pairs short program on Wednesday, as defending world junior champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China opened a slim lead over last season's silver medalists, Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan.

Sui and Han, who placed third at the senior ISU Grand Prix Final in December, performed a rousing Western routine with outstanding elements that gained many positive GOE's from the judges, including two +3's for their throw triple toe loop. They earned 59.16 points.

"We are very happy today because we did all our elements without mistakes," Han said. "We also congratulate the other medalists for their performances."

Takahashi and Tran, who live and train in Montreal, skated to Michael Bublé's "Feeling Good" and earned 57.85 points for a program including side-by-side double Axels; a throw triple toe loop; and a toe loop lift. The component scores were also strong.

"This was one of our best performances we ever did," Tran said.

Russians Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, who skated to "Asturias" by Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz, are third with 54.21 points. Most of their elements were strong, but Stolbova put her hand on the ice after landing the triple throw toe loop.

"We are pleased with today's performance except the one mistake," Klimov said. "The others on the podium were better and the result is correct."

"I wanted to show the throw too well. Maybe I was overexcited," Stolbova said.

Ashley Cain and Joshua Reagan of Euless, Texas, are eighth with 43.74 points. They started with a good triple throw toe loop, a safe lift and a double twist, but then Reagan fell on the double Axel and stopped the program because his shoe lace had opened. He fixed it and then they continued the program without further mistakes.

"It was only after the fall that I felt that something was wrong with my shoe," Reagan said. "The referee told me I had three minutes to fix it. So I was very nervous, while binding it again, but my coach calmed me down. Everything else before and after this problem was fine today."

Cassie Andrews and Timothy LeDuc of Indianapolis are 11th with 40.16 points. They started their program with a good double twist, but had an abrupt dismount to their lift abruptly and she landed the triple throw toe loop on two feet.

"We are so happy to compete at such an event for the USA, because we skate together only since April 2010," Leduc said.