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Pang, Tong win pairs gold at NHK Trophy

Russians win silver; Japanese take bronze

Qing Pang and Jian Tong won the pairs gold at the NHK Trophy.
Qing Pang and Jian Tong won the pairs gold at the NHK Trophy. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(10/23/2010) - Performing an elegant, if flawed, program to Franz Liszt's "Liebestraum," choreographed by David Wilson, reigning world champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China won the pairs free with 122.27 points and took the title with 189.37.

After opening with a few jumping mistakes, including Pang's doubling of an intended triple toe loop, the Chinese duo recovered with solid spins and a strong triple twist as well as two clean triple throws.

Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov were second with a solid program to Man in the Iron Mask, highlighted by clean side-by-side triple toe loops and powerful lifts, including one with Larionov changing direction. They earned 113.67 points, including the highest technical score of the event, and ended with 173.83 points.

Japan's Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran, who won gold and bronze in their Junior Grand Prix events earlier this fall, took bronze here despite Takahashi's fall on a triple Salchow and hand down on the landing of a throw triple Salchow. They placed fourth in the free with 98.43 and earned 155.66 overall.

"I am really happy with the levels we got, maybe the pair combination spin I'm not too happy about, other than that everything else I am happy about," Tran said. [The Japanese earned five Level 4 elements, but the pair combination spin was graded Level 3.]

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin, who placed sixth at the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, had a solid free to "Ave Maria" taking third place in that segment and climbing to fourth overall with 154.88.

The Colorado Springs-based team opened with double Axels, a triple twist and throw triple loop, but Yankowskas fell on a triple toe. Mistakes on the death spiral dropped that element to Level 1 and possibly cost them a medal.

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett had a disappointing outing to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," with Denney falling on an intended triple toe. Although the team landed two clean triple throws, trouble on the death spiral, pair combination spin and a lift dropped those elements to Level 1. The U.S. champions were seventh in the free and fifth overall with 152.38.