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Korean Kim Shines at Cup of China Figure Skating Grand Prix
Kim Yu-na waves after winning the Cup of China ISU Grand Prix of figure skating in Beijing on Nov. 8, 2008.

Kim Yu-na stole the spotlight from local favorites at the Cup of China ISU Grand Prix of figure skating as the South Korean teenager clinched the women's title with a brilliant performance in Beijing on Nov. 8, 2008..

Cheered on by an ecstatic capacity crowd at the Capital Gymnasium, the 18-year-old Kim scored 128.11 points in free skating for an overall winning mark of 191.75.

Japan's Ando Miki, winner of the 2007 World Championships, tookthe silver medal with 111.58 in the free skating and a 170.88 total.

Laura Lepisto of Finland, who finished third in European Championships, picked up 100.82 for a total of 159.42 to grab the bronze medal.

Kim, fresh from her victory in last month's Grand Prix of America, performed smoothly and gracefully to Sheherazade. The skating wunderkind was so popular that she received the most cheers when she showed up on the rink.

"I know that many skaters have used the music, but I just want to show my own style," said Kim.

"I really appreciated the fans," she said. "They made me feel at home. Last year I came to China, there were also many people cheering for me."

Kim's performance was not so perfect that she made a mistake on the landing of her triple lutz, but she had overwhelmingly advantage in her spiral sequence and jump.

"My triple lutz is not stable today," she said. "But I felt better than I was in the short program, because I was very nervous that day."

Born on Sept. 5, 1990, Kim started figure skating at seven and won her first national champion at 13. In 2006, Kim became the first South Korean skater who won gold in World Junior Championships.

In 2007, Kim made debut in the World Championships and finished third. She also won the gold medal in the 2007 Grand Prix final.

"This season the most important thing for me is to keep good form and avoid injuries for the following competitions," said Kim, who has already qualified for the 2008 Grand Prix final in South Korea after back-to-back victories in the U.S. and China Grand Prix.

Kim, who is based in Canada, said she had to communicate with her coach in English, so she was learning the language after training.

"I has tried to tell the coach my feeling in English, and I will keep doing it to improve my English," she said. (Xinhua News)



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