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2019 Figure Skating World Championships opens in Saitama

(Xinhua)    13:30, March 20, 2019

Chinese figure skater Jin Boyang takes part in his training session ahead of 2019 ISU World Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, March 18, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

SAITAMA, Japan, March 20 (Xinhua) -- After two days of practice, the 2019 Figure Skating World Championships begins here Wednesday with the pairs short program in the morning, followed by the ladies' short program. The men's program is to kick off on Thursday.

A total of 67 skaters from 43 countries and regions have been entered for the Championships. Notable participants include 2018 Winter Olympic champions Alina Zagitova of Russia and Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, as well as 2018 world champions Nathan Chen of the United States and Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron of France.

China's 2018 Winter Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing/Han Cong will take to the ice in Group 3 in the pairs short program, while China's 16-year-old Chen Hongyi will be the first skater in the ladies short program.

In the ladies' competition, Olympic champion Zagitova is up against Japan's rising star Rika Kihira and Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva, also from Russia.

Zagitova came second to Kihira at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating final and was second at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships. Kihira broke through in her debut at the senior level, claiming gold in the final of the ISU Four Continents Championships with a season's best 233.12 points.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Liang Jun)

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