Chinese stars hope to shine in Shanghai

Chinese stars hope to shine in Shanghai

SHANGHAI - Agence France-Presse
Chinese stars hope to shine in Shanghai

Chinese duo Pang Qing (R) and Tong Jian skate in the short program during the Skate America competition. AFP photo

Skating duo Pang Qing and Tong Jian are hoping a home crowd will propel them to glory at the Cup of China, the third event on the ISU Grand Prix tour that begins today.

China’s Olympic silver medalists enter the three-day event in Shanghai as favorites to take the pairs title. Pang and Tong won silver at the 2012 Skate America last month, but are expected to go one better at Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Centre to secure their place in next month’s final.

“The most important goal for us in Shanghai is to win the ticket to the final. We want the gold medal here,” Tong told state-run China Radio International.

“I hope all the Chinese skaters will have a good performance here in the home rink.”

Reigning European Champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat are top seeds in the ice dance category, while Skate America silver medalists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev from Russia are expected to give a strong performance.

Men’s world silver medalist Daisuke Takahashi and two-time women’s World Champion Mao Asada lead a particularly strong Japanese team.

Japan’s Skating Federation decided last week to take part in the event following concerns of simmering anti-Japan sentiment in the host country over a long-running territorial row between Beijing and Tokyo.