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Top figure skating comes back to Beijing
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-29 09:13

The Cup of China-ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating will be held in Beijing for the second time from November 11 to 14 at Beijing Capital Gymnasium.

As the fourth stop of this season's figure skating Grand Prix, the top level international figure skating competition, the Cup of China has attracted 46 skaters from 17 countries and regions, who are all among the top 30 in the world.

The elite skaters include China's top pairs skaters Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo, two-time world champions and Winter Olympic Games bronze medallists and Zhang Dan/Zhang Hao, last season's ISU Grand Prix sixth-place finisher, Russian pair Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin, 2004 world champions, the US's Sasha Cohen, runner-up in the 2004 World Championship women's singles and Germany's Stefan Lindemann, 2004 World Championship men's third-place finisher.

Due to the popularity of figure skating in China, it has taken the place of Germany in holding one of the stops of the series and will stage the final of the series this year from December 16-19.

The Grand Prix this season will apply ISU's new judging system, which was used in the 2003-04 ISU Grand Prix series and was approved at the 50th ISU Congress on June 11 this year.

The new judging system uses modern technology that enables judges to assess individual elements of a skater's programme more objectively according to agreed criteria. It awards points for a technical score combined with points awarded for five additional components: skating skills, transitions, performance/execution, choreography and interpretation.

In the opinion of many experts, the new ISU judging system will drastically reduce the chances of controversial results that have sometimes been seen in the past.

The Chinese skaters are trying their best adapt to the new system.

"We are now strictly trained according to the new judging system," said Shen. "We have to be much more familiar with the new system, which is still changing for the better"

In preparation for the 2004-05 Grand Prix series, Shen/Zhao are now trained to the movie music of "Song's Dynasty," and the music of "Moonlight" by Claude Achille Debussy.

"We will try to show classic Chinese culture to the whole world," said Zhao.

Tickets for the Cup of China started to sell yesterday, with the lowest price being 20 yuan to meet the need of ordinary spectators.

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