China's pair skaters face challenge in Figure Skating Worlds

08:22, April 28, 2011      

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China's free skating pair Pang Qing/Tong Jian will face strong challenge from Russian and German pair skaters in the 2011 Figure Skating World Championships.

The pairs short program will be held on Wednesday.

Reigning world pairs champions Pang Qing/Tong Jian, with a season's best of 199.45 points, will meet competition from current world silver medalists Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy from Germany, who posted a season's best of 210.72 points.

Meanwhile, reigning world bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov from Russia are eager to challenge the champions on their home soil.

Another two rising Russian pairs, Vera Bazarova/Yury Larionov and Tatyana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov, also have hopes of medals.

Tong Jian, who arrived in Moscow on April 23 along with his partner Pang Qing, told Xinhua that they had adapted to the arena and "everything was ok" so far. The pair used to compete in the same Megasport Arena here.

Speaking of their preparation, Tong said they have been trying to keep good form despite the influence caused by the sudden change of the event's host place.

"We had to adjust our moods and training programs immediately after knowing that the event was delayed and the host would be moved from Tokyo to Moscow. It feels like you were sprinting in the 400-meter running but suddenly you were told the finish line was not here and you had to run a further 100-meter," he said.

For Russian skater Yuko Kavaguti, success would be particularly sweet after the competition was moved from her birthplace to the country where she now competes for. She admitted it was hard for her to concentrate on training during the days after the quake and tsunami hit Japan.

"But as an athlete, I know that my job is to try my best in the competition. I know many fans, both in Russia and Japan, always cheer on me. I can't let them down," she said.

The championship runs from April 25 to May 1 at Moscow's Megasport Arena.

Source: Xinhua
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