Figure Skating

Jin outshines Uno for top prize at Aichi Junior Grand Prix

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

The youngsters put on quite a show on the final day of the Aichi Junior Grand Prix on Sunday at Morikoro Park Skating Rink.

China’s Jin Boyang landed three huge quadruple jumps to hold off Nagoya native Shoma Uno in the men’s free skate and win the competition. Jin’s margin of victory was just under two points, as he notched a total of 221.92, while Uno tallied 219.99.

Russia’s Dmitri Aliev took third place with 189.82.

Jin took a lead of just over one point into the free skate and had the pressure on him with Uno slated to be the final skater. But Jin more than met the challenge, wowing the crowd with an opening quad salchow, followed by a quad toe loop/double toe loop combination jump.

The Harbin native went on to add another quad toe loop and also landed seven triple jumps. When Jin ended his program to “Dragon Racing,” he received a standing ovation from the audience and many of his fellow skaters who were watching.

With Jin posting the huge total of 151.04 for his free skate, fellow 16-year-old Uno knew he was going to have to do something spectacular to overtake his rival and he nearly did.

Uno skated to “Don Juan de Marco” and opened with a huge quad toe loop that fired up the partisan spectators on hand. However, he underrotated the front end of his ensuing quad toe loop/double toe loop combo.

The hometown favorite battled on, hitting six triple jumps and receiving level four scores on his spins, but it wasn’t enough in the end. Jin received higher marks for technical elements, while Uno earned more for program components.

“I don’t think I skated well today because I had to include two quads in my program,” stated Uno. “My quads are not so consistent yet. I think that is why I couldn’t skate well.”

Uno said he did not feel any anxiety despite skating in front of so many friends and family.

“My triple jumps were consistent and I have confidence,” he commented. “Maybe that’s why I was not nervous.”

The victory was the second of the JGP campaign for Jin, who also won the season-opening event in Slovenia last month. Jin won both of his JGP assignments last season as well as the JGP Final in Fukuoka.

Uno’s podium finish made it a successful weekend for the host nation, as Yuka Nagai placed second in the women’s event on Saturday.

Tokyo’s Kento Kajita (156.35) finished 10th, while Osaka’s Taiichiro Yamakuma came in 13th with 143.36.

Yamakuma wore an outfit similar to the one that France’s Philippe Candeloro wore in the free skate at the 1998 Nagano Olympics on the way to the bronze medal. Alas, Yamakuma’s performance to “Lawrence of Arabia” wasn’t on the same level as Candeloro’s to “D’Artagnan.”

The Aichi JGP was the fourth of seven on the calendar this season. The next competition is slated for Estonia later this month.

The JGP Final will be held in Barcelona, Spain, in December.