Medvedeva, Fer­nan­dez clinch GP fi­nal berths

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PA R I S :

World cham­pi­ons Evgenia Medvedeva and Javier Fer­nan­dez over­came tum­bles to claim their sec­ond golds of the sea­son in Paris on Satur­day to ad­vance to next month’s elite ISU Grand Prix fig­ure skat­ing fi­nal.

Spa­niard Fer­nan­dez fol­lowed his Cup of Rus­sia suc­cess last week­end in the Grand Prix de France, the fourth in the six-leg Grand Prix se­ries, in Paris-Bercy.

The dou­ble world men’s cham­pion will now bid for a first GP fi­nal ti­tle in the French city of Mar­seille af­ter tak­ing sil­ver in Barcelona in 2014 and 2015.

The 25-year-old sur­vived a fall on a triple axel as he got car­ried away in his crowd-pleas­ing Elvis Pres­ley med­ley which in­cluded three quadru­ple jumps.

“Some­times I’m hav­ing so much fun I’m not re­ally care­ful about what I’m do­ing,” said the Toronto-based skater. He scored 188.81 points for his free skate-over 12 points lower than in Moscow-and 285.38 over­all.

But it was enough to take gold by a 16.12 margin on Kazakh De­nis Ten, with Amer­i­can Adam Rip­pon mov­ing up from fourth to take bronze. “It was tough, it’s the first time I’ve done back-to-back com­pe­ti­tions,” said Fer­nan­dez.

“It’s hard to be 100 per­cent, but I’m glad to reach the Grand Prix fi­nal. It’s the only gold medal I’m miss­ing, along with the Olympics of course.” Ten, the Olympic bronze medal­list, took his sec­ond Grand Prix medal in Paris as he re­turns from an in­jury-plagued 2015.

“I feel like I’m on track. I was in­jured and dis­tracted last year. I can feel the com­pet­i­tive spirit again,” said the for­mer two-time world medal­list.

A huge weight was lifted off Rip­pon’s shoul­ders as he fi­nally landed a quad in com­pe­ti­tion the day af­ter turn­ing 27.

“No­body can say I can’t land a quad now,” said Rip­pon, who is also in with a chance of reach­ing the Grand Prix fi­nal af­ter tak­ing third in Skate Amer­ica.

World and Euro­pean cham­pion Medvedeva con­tin­ued her streak of win­ning per­for­mances by earn­ing the women’s ti­tle de­spite a tum­ble and will de­fend her Grand Prix fi­nal ti­tle from De­cem­ber 8-10.

Af­ter a personal-best short pro­gramme score, the 16-year-old Rus­sian fin­ished first in the free skate with 143.02 for a to­tal 221.54 — bet­ter than her over­all score in tak­ing gold in Skate Canada.

“That wasn’t what I was sup­posed to show to­day,” said Medvedeva.

She nev­er­the­less fin­ished over 21 points ahead of her closed ri­val Maria Sot­skova, also 16, of Rus­sia, who took her first Grand Prix medal as did 15-year-old Ja­panese skater Wak­aba Higuchi who won bronze.

Ja­pan’s three-time world cham­pion Mao Asada slumped to ninth as for­mer world sil­ver medal­list Alena Leonova fell five times to fin­ish last as she be­came dis­tracted by a low-fly­ing pi­geon in the rink.

Ear­lier French ice dancers Gabriella Pa­padakis and Guil­laume Cize­ron got their sea­son off to a golden start with a sec­ond Paris ti­tle.

The two-time world and Euro­pean cham­pi­ons re­claimed the ti­tle they won in 2014 but could not de­fend last year af­ter Pa­padakis suf­fered con­cus­sion in a train­ing ac­ci­dent. The Mon­treal-based skaters lead all the way win­ning by a com­fort­able 18.92 margin on Amer­i­cans Madi­son Hubbell and Zachary Dono­hue.

The per­for­mance earned Pa­padakis and Cize­ron-who cel­e­brated his 22nd birth­day on Satur­day — 115.24 and the top this sea­son with 193.50.

The con­tem­po­rary mu­sic was a move away from the more clas­si­cal style of ice danc­ing with a tempo vary­ing from slow to chaotic.

“We wanted to show the chaos of life, to tell the story of a cou­ple bat­tling with doubts, get­ting sub­merged by things that are not re­ally im­por­tant,” ex­plained Pa­padakis, who next com­pete in the NHK Tro­phy in Sap­poro, Ja­pan.

Hubbell and Dono­hue are al­ready set for GP fi­nal af­ter a sec­ond sil­ver af­ter Skate Amer­ica, along with pairs skaters Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Mas­sot of Ger­many, who took a sec­ond gold af­ter Moscow.

The fifth leg in the Grand Prix se­ries will be the Cup of China in Bei­jing from Novem­ber 18-20. — AFP

PARIS: Rus­sia’s Evgenia Medvedeva (C) poses on the podium with sec­ond place Rus­sia’s Maria Sot­skova (L) and third place Ja­pan’s Wak­aba Higuchi af­ter she won the Ladies event at the Trophee Eric Bom­pard ISU Grand Prix of Fig­ure Skat­ing in Paris on Satur­day. — AFP

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