Gold for China's Wenjing Sui & Cong Han in Saitama

China’s Wenjing Sui/Cong Han soared to the Pairs gold medal as the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama (JPN) on Thursday. Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov settled for the silver medal while their teammates Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert earned the bronze. All three teams set new seasons best scores.

Skating last, Sui/Han delivered a brilliant performance to “Rain, In Your Black Eyes” by Ezio Bosso, hitting a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, triple twist, triple Salchow, throw triple flip and throw triple Salchow as well as level-four lifts. The reigning Olympic silver medalists scored 155.60 points for their Free Skating and moved up from second to first at 234.84 points to win their second World title after 2017. “We are very happy to have shown our best performance and to win this Championship. We had a tough time we could not prepare so well and did not have much time to practice. Our coaches and our team gave us a lot of support and we knew we can make it and get the title. Winning the second time was harder and it was a team effort,” Sui commented.

Overnight leaders Tarasova/Morozov turned in a strong performance to “Winter” by Balmorhea that featured a big triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow as well as spectacular lifts. However, Morozov was somewhat shaky on the solo jumps triple toe and triple Salchow. The two-time European Champions picked up 147.26 points and slipped to second at 228.47 points. “Today, we are pleased with our free skating and we’re happy we were able to do two good programs. There were only small mistakes, but they didn’t play a major role. We are happy with the second place and that we did all our elements,” Tarasova told the press.

Zabiiako/Enbert’s powerful performance to “Toi et Moi” by Igor Krutoi was highlighted by a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, triple Salchow, throw triple flip and loop as well as difficult lifts. The 2018 European bronze medalists earned 144.02 points and were ranked fourth in the Free Skating. However, with a total score of 217.98 points they moved up one spot to step on to the World podium for the first time. “We are very satisfied with the performance and the World Championship overall. We were unable to attend Europeans and were disappointed about that. That probably made us a little mad and that helped, too. We did everything we could have done here,” Zabiiako noted.

Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) turned in a clean program to “La Vie en Rose”, but nevertheless dropped from third to fourth at 215.84 points. 2019 European Champions Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) rallied back from a disappointing Short Program, coming third in the Free Skating and pulling up from seventh to fifth on 215.19 points. Youngsters Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitri Kozlovskii (RUS) placed sixth in a strong World Championship debut (210.30 points).