S. Korean figure skater finishes 6th in women’s short at Four Continents

South Korean figure skater Choi Da-bin performs in the women’s short program at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

Source: yna.co.kr

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) — South Korean figure skater Choi Da-bin finished sixth in the women’s short program at an International Skating Union (ISU) competition here with her personal best score on Thursday.

Choi had a total segment score of 61.62 points at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, some 230 kilometers east of Seoul. She was sixth best among 23 competitors who performed at Gangneung Ice Arena.

Canadians Gabrielle Daleman and Kaetlyn Osmond were the top two performers. Daleman had 68.25, just 0.04 above Osmond.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan was third at 66.87 in her first Four Continents appearance.

Choi, who performed to a soundtrack from the movie “La La Land,” had a technical element score (TES) of 35.56 and a program component score (PCS) of 26.06. Her previous best score in short program was 58.70, set at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September 2016.

“I didn’t have good results in international competitions early this season because my jumps weren’t good and I didn’t have good form,” she said. “But I’m happy that I had a clean performance in my last international competition of the season.”

Choi, who finished 10th in the short program at last year’s edition, had a flawless performance in her second Four Continents appearance. The 17-year-old didn’t make any mistakes in her routine, which involved a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, triple flip and double axel jumps.

“During my practice, I was worried that I couldn’t execute my jumps,” she said. “But everything went well after I cleared my first jump routine.”

Kim Na-hyun, who has a personal best score of 60.46 in the short program, the highest among South Korean skaters here, settled for 17th place with 45.95.

Kim, who performed to Whitney Houston’s hit song “I Will Always Love You,” fell to the ice when she went for a triple flip. She also couldn’t execute her triple loops combination.

Son Suh-hyun, who was making her Four Continents debut, ended up in 22nd with 38.61.

The women’s free skating is scheduled for Saturday.

Earlier in the day, South Korea’s figure skating pair Min Yu-ra and Alexander Gamelin finished eighth in the ice dance short program.

Min and Gamelin marked a total segment score of 59.01 points, eighth best among 16 ice dance teams.

The other South Korean representatives, Lee Ho-jung and Kam Kang-in, took 13th place with a score of 44.57.

Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions and the 2014 Olympic silver medalists, topped the short dance competition at 79.75. The reigning Four Continents champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States finished second at 76.59, followed by their compatriots Madison Chock and Evan Bates at 74.67.

The ice dance event will conclude on Friday with the free dance program.

South Korea’s Min Yu-ra (L) and Alexander Gamelin perform in the ice dance short competition at the ISU Four Continents Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

Min and Gamelin, who went seventh, had a TES of 32.75 and a PCS of 26.26. Their combined score in the short program was just 0.21 point behind their career best score.

“We had a lot of energy because fans here gave us big support,” Min said. “We are satisfied with our result.”

The ice dance tandem, who teamed up in 2015, finished eighth at the Four Continents last year. Gamelin is an American citizen, but is seeking naturalization to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next year with Min.

At ISU competitions, as long as one member of a tandem is South Korean, that duo can compete under the South Korean flag. At the Olympics, however, both members of a team must be South Korean citizens to represent the country.

Lee and Kam, who skated after Min and Gamelin, had a TES of 22.94 and PCS of 22.63, but received a one point deduction as Lee fell to the ice during a synchronized twizzle.

In ice dance, throws and jumps are not allowed and spins must be performed together as a team. Unlike pairs figure skating, the discipline judges more the couple’s footwork and how well they move as one with a definite rhythm.

In the pairs short program, South Korean teams took the last three spots.

Kim Su-yeon and Kim Hyung-tae finished 13th among 15 teams with a total score of 49.88. They were followed by Ji Min-ji and Themistocles Leftheris, who scored 45.81, and Kim Kyu-eun and Kam Kang-chan, who had 41.06.

Leftheris is also an American citizen who is trying to obtain South Korean citizenship to compete at the Winter Olympics.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, three-time Four Continents champions, finished first at 80.75, while another Chinese pair of Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao were the runners-up at 75.20. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, two-time world championship winners, were third at 74.31.

The pairs’ free skating is scheduled for Saturday.

South Korea’s Kim Hyung-tae (L) lifts his partner Kim Su-yeon during their pairs skating short program at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

The Four Continents, open to non-European athletes, will have the men’s short program on Friday, featuring world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. He will skate 22nd in order among 26 competitors. South Korea will be represented by Kim Jin-seo, Lee June-hyoung and Lee Si-hyeong.

The ISU competition is one of the test events for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. It is also the first international figure skating event held at Gangneung Ice Arena, the venue for figure skating and short track speed skating at the PyeongChang Games. Gangneung is a sub-host for the upcoming Winter Games that will stage ice sports.

kdon@yna.co.kr

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