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Euro Champs Capture Dance Crown at Cup of China Figure Skating GP
    2008-11-08 23:17:03     Xinhua

European champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia claimed the ice dance title on Saturday while Jeremy Abbott led a U.S. 1-2 finish in men's singles at the Cup of China, the third stop on the International Skating Union's (ISU) figure skating grand prix series.

The Russian duo topped both the compulsory and free dances to take the overall crown with 186.77 points despite a second-place finish in the original dance.

"We skated well today and felt happy with the result. But it was a close competition because we didn't win until the last moment," said Shabalin.

"Last year, we also joined the China Cup, so it feel good to be back here, especially where we can get the nice support from Chinese audiences." he added.

Olympic runners-up Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the United States, who won the original dance on Friday, finished second in the other two routines and finally ranked second with a minor margin of 0.36 point. Another Russian pair Jana khokhlova and Sergei Novitski were third with 179.50 points.

"We chose some new music today to try to be more dramatic and passionate. But the free dance result is not so good as we expected," said Tanith.

"We will continue to improve it when we were back home. We were confident, because we were younger and had more energy," added the 26-year-old Agosto.

The men's showdown game came last of the day on ice. Abbott earned 156.39 points in free skating for a 233.44 total. His American compatriot Stephen Carriere won the silver medal, trailing by 16.19 points.

European champion Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic managed to finish third overall with 205.48 points.

Earlier in the day, South Korea's Kim Yu-na performed flawlessly to successfully defend her title.

On Friday night, China's ace pairs Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists, clinched the pairs title.

The China Grand Prix, which started on Thursday, has attracted 60 skaters from 14 countries and regions.

After the closing day's exhibition programs on Sunday, the season's series will continue in Paris next week before stops later in Moscow and Tokyo ahead of next month's Grand Prix final in South Korea.

 
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