Nam Nguyen edged out of medals at Grand Prix

SHANGHAI – Toronto’s Nam Nguyen took fourth spot in men’s competition on Saturday in a memorable night at the Cup of China, the third stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit in figure skating.

Maxim Kovtun of Russia won the gold medal with 243.34 points, Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who fell five times in his free skate, took the silver at 237.55 and Richard Dornbush of the U.S., was third at 226.73.

Nguyen totalled 221.85 to climb from sixth after Friday’s short program to fourth. Nguyen opened with a brilliant quad Salchow followed by a perfect triple Axel.  He singled his follow up triple Axel in combination but came back to land it perfectly a few seconds later. He completed his skate to a series of clean triple jumps including two in combination.

‘’I was happy I was able to come back and pull it off,’’ said the 16-year-old Nam about his triple Axel combo.  ‘’For me there was no question about whether I would attempt it again in the program. It’s a jump I have a lot of confidence with.’’

The men’s competition was marred by a nasty collision between Hanyu and China’s Han Yan  in the warm-up just prior to the last flight of skaters.  Hanyu suffered scrapes to his head and face and still competed with a bandage around his head.   Han also performed his free skate and finished sixth.

For Nguyen it was another impressive performance in his first season at the senior level.  Last winter’s world junior champion already has two medal performances including a bronze at Skate America last month.

In women’s competition, Russia was 1-2 with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva winning gold and Julia Lipnitskaia the silver. Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., was fifth in her senior Grand Prix debut.

‘’I wasn’t nervous, I felt confident,’’ said Daleman, 16, a 2014 Olympic team member.  ‘’I knew going in it was going to be a tough competition but I felt ready.  The big thing I learned this weekend is not to second guess myself and trust even more in my training.’’

In ice dancing Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., were fifth and in pairs Natasha Purich of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Andrew Wolfe of Calgary were sixth.

‘’It’s pretty amazing for us just be here,’’ said Purich who joined forces with Wolfe only six months ago.  ‘’We’re just happy to see our career together starting to take off.  Today we made some little mistakes and left some points on the table but we are confident we will continue to improve.’’

The next stop in the circuit is next weekend in Moscow.

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