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  National
Kim Yu-Na Garners Cup of Russia
To win a berth in Grand Prix finals in Italy on Dec. 13-16.
South Korea's Kim Yu-Na

A Korean sports star who is officially serving as the country's national brand "Dynamic Korea" promoter has given another stellar performance at an international competition.

Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na has won the women's title the Cup of Russia in Moscow on Nov. 24 , the fifth of six meets on the International Skating Union's Grand Prix circuit.

The 17-year-old Kim, who was in first place after the short program, set a personal best score of 133.70 points in the free program and scored 197.20 overall to win the gold at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Russia.

Skating to the tune of "Miss Saigon," Kim executed most of her moves to near perfection. Her triple flip-triple loop combination had no competition in both height and accuracy.

She also successfully executed a triple salchow and a double axel-triple toe loop combination, which she tried for the first time in this season.

Previously, Kim won the Cup of China two weeks ago, was one of three women to try a triple-triple, and the only one to succeed.

Kim was followed by Yukari Nakano of Japan, this year’s Skate Canada runner-up.

With the victory in Moscow, Kim has also won a berth to compete in the Grand Prix finals to be held in Italy on Dec. 13-16.

Earlier on Nov. 23, Kim Yu-na took the lead after the women's short program at the Cup of Russia.

She was followed by Yukari Nakano of Japan and Kiira Korpi of Finland. The top Russian was Katarina Gerbolt in sixth place.

In pairs, China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, who won the Trophee Bompard last week, took the lead over Skate Canada winners Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany by winning the short program.

Earlier, ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, Russia's strongest hope for a gold medal, were comfortably ahead after the compulsory dance.

Kim, who won the Cup of China, was one of three women to try a triple-triple, and the only one to succeed. She singled a planned double axel, but was otherwise strong and vivid, including a pinpoint triple flip-triple toe loop combination in opening to music from Die "Fledermaus." She totaled 63.50 points.

"It's true I made some mistakes," Kim said. "But I'm happy with the overall results."

Nakano nailed all her jumps, including a double axel that was especially impressive because it came late in the program. But her presentation scores were more than two points below those of Kim, and she ended three points behind the leader.

Korpi landed all her jumps but appeared stiff, especially in her spins.

"I've been training hard" since missing Skate Canada with an illness, she said."I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Julia Sebestyen of Hungary, who made the Grand Prix final last year, was plagued by errors and finished eighth, one spot ahead of American Bebe Liang.

Russian fans watched to see if any of the three little-known entries would show enough to restore the country's former eminence in singles skating. Katarina Gerboldt gave them a bit of hope, showing accomplished technique in her first major international competition.

Zhang and Zhang began with a high triple twist and followed with a throw triple loop, staying solid until some synchronization problems in the combination spin. The Germans' fun program to a Bollywood soundtrack, including Savchenko rising like a genie from under Szolkowy, suffered when she fell on side-by-side triple toe loops.

In ice dancing, Domnina and Shabalin led with 40.05 points. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were next at 34.87, with Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitiri Soloviev third.



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