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Russian pairs dominate in Goyang City

Iliushechkina, Maisuradze lead after short program

Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze (left) won the junior pairs gold medal and Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh (right) won bronze.
Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze (left) won the junior pairs gold medal and Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh (right) won bronze. (Klaus-Reinhold Kany)

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By J. Barry Mittan, special to icenetwork.com
(12/11/2008) - The top five ranked pairs teams at the SBS ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating (JGP) Final in Goyang City, Republic of Korea, were all from Russia. Three of those teams occupied the top spots after the short program on Thursday, too.

Reigning junior world silver medalists Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze won the short program after scoring a season-high 56.88 points, skating to Lorena McKennitt's "Prologue." A throw triple loop highlighted their program.

"I think it was quite good," Iliushechkina said of their program. "We wanted to complete all of our elements carefully and exactly."

The 2008 world junior champions, Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh, were second with 51.54 points for their "Valpurgis Night" program. The couple, who won last year's Final, also scored a season best.

"It was probably the best short program of the season," Bezmaternikh said, "but it wasn't our best yet."

Teammates Anastasia Martiusheva and Alexei Rogonov, using Russian folk music, placed third with 50.60 points, even though she fell on her double Lutz.

"We had a stupid error," said Rogonov of the fall. "This is an element that we can do easily."

China's Yue Zhang and Lei Wang, who were seventh at last year's Final, finished fourth on Thursday with 50.22 points. They skated to ABBA's "The Way Old Friends Do" by Maksim Mrvica.

Russia's Sabina Imaikina and Andrei Novoselov, skating to "The Dolphin and the Mermaid," placed fifth with 46.04 points. She stepped out of her opening double Lutz and later went down to one knee on the dismount from their Group 3 lift.

U.S. skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir placed sixth with 44.84 points, using music from the Survivor: Guatemala television series.

Russia's Ksenia Ozerova and Alexander Enbert, who are coached by 1998 Olympic champions Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev, placed seventh. They earned 43.46 points in their "Don Quixote" program after Ozerova fell on her double Lutz. The couple had to stop their program while Ozerova, visibly limping on a twisted ankle after the fall, determined whether she could continue.

Japan's Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran were in eighth place, scoring only 34.24 points after three falls in their program to "Din Daa Daa" and "Seventeen Years."