Sapporo, Japan

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Olympic silver medalists Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China sparkled in the Pairs Short Program at NHK Trophy in Sapporo on Friday and seem poised for gold with a 10-point lead over Canadians  Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro. Russia’s Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galliamov are not far behind the Canadians in third place.

Performing to 'Blues Deluxe', Sui/Han landed a side-by-side triple toeloop, triple twist, throw triple flip and collected a level four for the twist, the step sequence, the death spiral and reverse lasso lift. However, the side-by-side change foot spin garnered only a level two. The two-time World Champions scored a personal best of 81.27 points.

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Sui and Han skated into a 10-point lead with their Short Program routine to 'Blues Deluxe' © International Skating Union

“With the performance at this competition we are quite satisfied. However, we still saw that there was a problem with one element (side-by-side spin), so this is something we want to improve. As for tomorrow, we just want to give our very best performance,” Han commented.

Moore-Towers/Marinaro’s program to 'Love On the Brain' was highlighted by a throw triple loop, side by side triple toeloop and an Axel Lasso lift. However, Marinaro wobbled on the side-by-side spin that was rated a level one. The Skate Canada silver medalists scored 71.21 points.

“Today we thought that we had definitely a few elements that we improved from our first Grand Prix in Canada, but a few small elements that we lost a lot of levels on. So we left some points on the table there. We’ll be in spin jail when we get home,” Moore-Towers said.

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Moore-Towers and Marinaro lie in second place but admit they will be 'spin jail' after a wobble on the side-by-side element © International Skating Union

Mishina/Galliamov completed a triple twist, throw triple flip as well as four more level-four elements. However, Galliamov stepped out of the side by side triple Salchow. The 2019 World Junior Champions earned 69.00 points.

“I would rate the performance more positive than negative, but there were some unexpected mistakes that we don't do in practice. When we get home after the competition, we'll analyze and work on them,” Galliamov noted.

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Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov (RUS) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (JPN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

Alisa Efimova/Alexander Korovin (RUS) finished fourth on 64.94 points while Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim (USA) came fifth (63.63 points).

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Standings Pairs.

Overall, 58 skaters/couples representing 11 ISU members compete at NHK Trophy November 22-24. The top 6 qualifiers of the Grand Prix series in each discipline will proceed to the Final in Turin (ITA), December 5 to 8, 2019. Full entry lists, results, the General Announcement of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series are available on

Where to watch and follow the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2019?

Viewers will be able to watch the Series either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel as of season 2019/20. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.

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ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2019/20

Skate America - Las Vegas (USA) – October 18 – 20

Skate Canada International – Kelowna (CAN) – October 25 – 27

Internationaux de France – Grenoble (FRA) – Novembre 1 – 3

SHISEIDO cup of China – Chongqing (CHN) – November 8 – 10

Rostelecom Cup – Moscow (RUS) – November 15 – 17

NHK Trophy – Sapporo (JPN) – November 22 – 24

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (Senior & Junior) – Torino (ITA) – December 5 – 8