WFSC 2012 in Lishui (China) - Day 1

WFSC 2012 in Lishui (China) - Day 1

The 2012 WFSC World Freestyle Skating Championship was held in Lishui, a "small" town in China. The first day was dedicated to Senior Speed Slalom qualifiers and Junior Classic Freestyle...

By Close Yr E's

DAY 1 – Senior Speed Trials & Junior Classic

Opening ceremony

Wednesday evening was busy with a gigantic buffet followed by an impressive and opulent opening ceremony – with lots of 5-year-old Chinese kids dancing in synchronization in acts of 10 minutes… Just picture European kids *trying* to do the eighth of what they showed, it would be a perfect disaster.

Overview of buffet and opening ceremony from 5’25: (2012 WFSC Lishui all Day2)

Lishui, China

The world championships take place in Lishui, a remote place in China from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th of August –  “remote” is just another word for “lost”: I personally had to endure a 23-hour trip with one train, two planes and a bus to arrive at destination… The place, which on the Internet looks like a pleasant and peaceful green havoc with trees, mountains, lakes and small wooden boats, proudly calls itself the “Lung of China”. In fact, it is just another typical Chinese town (although quite green with mountains in the background, I convey) with buildings at work everywhere.


Most of the competitors and the judges have accommodation in the same hotel, and buses come and pick us all up to drive us to the competition area and then back to the hotel, twice a day as we go back to the hotel for lunch. Each National team has a volunteer who is in charge of them, basically letting them know when to wake up, when to eat, when to take the bus, and keeping them up to date with the potential changes in the schedule.

Competition Area

L'aire de compétition au centre de la piste de courseThe competition area is the speed skating rink of Lishui with nothing much to see around, except buildings (at work). However, the area, being dedicated to skating, has a very smooth ground made of painted concrete (like the Arena in Geisingen). At first, the training area was outside of the rink, just on the side, but a new (small) area has been settled into the rink as soon as the first evening, in order for the skaters to be able to train on the same ground as the one they were competing on.

In case of rain, an indoor hall with wooden floor was booked. And you are going to see further that it saved the competition!

The area: (2012 WFSC Lishui Day 1)


Bleachers are available for the public and they were crowded as soon as the first day! Special bleachers and areas have also been settled for the media, the VIP, the skaters and the volunteers. The area is equipped with ahuuuge screen onto which are shown the videos shot by the multiple cameras on the area. The last world championships (Geisingen, GER – Oct. 11) really set the bar high as for technological means and it is great to see that this year’s organization is taking up the challenge!


On the other hand, the skaters’ attendance is quite poor compared to the previous editions where numbers were increasing year after year. Yet, most of the top slalomers made the trip so that the competition legitimately deserves its “World Freestyle Skating Championships” title.

Senior Speed Slalom Trials

You must have noted that I said “most” of the top skaters. Indeed, a big absence is being felt as soon as the opening discipline. The championships start on the Thursday afternoon with the Senior Speed Slalom time trials. But Yohan Fort (FRA), world #1 and 2011 world champion (4 times in a row!) is missing… as well as his brother Jimmy who will not be able to fight for his junior world title tomorrow: They could not get their visas in time. This leaves a big hole but also a big opportunity for their opponents!

Out of the 46 registered men skaters, only the first 16 are qualified for the KO systems, which will take place on Saturday. The women are only 16 to take up the challenge and only half of them with be allowed to do the KOs.

Speed SlalomThe competitors start with a free start and their time is double-checked by time cells and a high speed camera: The cells, placed 30cm from the ground, check the moment when the ankle is crossing the finish line, while the camera can check the first wheels and the overall position of the skaters. Official Rule reminder: skaters should not set their free foot on the ground before having crossed the finish line.  Participants should start with at least one wheel of their front foot in between two start lines spaced 15 cm apart. A good number of false starts were called because skaters tended to bend back to gain the maximum speed… and some would roll outside of the limits. Let’s also note the huge number offirst-cone penalties, skaters trying to optimize their races to the max. The official rule is: There should be no first-cone penalty as long as the skater crosses the center point of the cone with only one foot touching the ground.

Amongst the qualified male skaters for the KOs, the first four are below 4.5: Chinese Guo Fang (world #4) in the lead (best: 4.408) is followed by Taipeian Yan Hsin Chiao (#15), saved by his second run in 4.424. Lan Wang Heng (CHN, #6) is only two thousandth in front of first European Savio Brivo (ITA, #9) (4.482 and 4.484). Let’s note that the Italian is a real cannonball: fastest man of the trials with two times in the 4.200’s! He qualifies 4th with a first-cone penalty, and even with the 3 penalties of his first run he would have been qualified at the 11th place… Talking about Italians, their whole team qualifies: Simone Nai Oleari(#2) is 5th, Tiziano Ferrari (#7) 12th with quite a slow first run and a void second run, and Luca Ulivieri (#31) is the 16th and last qualified despite two penalties on his two tries (best: 5.061). Let’s also note the qualifications of Koreans Kim Sung Jin (#3) and Yu Jin Seong (#14) at the 6th and 8th places, those of French Igor Cheremetieff (#18) and Alexandre Claris (#10) (9th and 10th), as well as those of former world champions in slides Jireh Goh (SIN, #360) and Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryazantsev (RUS, #12) at the 13th and 14th places, followed by Polish Michal Sulinowski (#25) at the 15th place. Amongst the non-qualified, two challengers who could have shaken things up: Chinese Liao Jie (#58) and French Romain Lebois (#8), respectively 17th and 20th.

Italy is also invading the women’s qualifications: the four of them make it… i.e. half of the KO skaters will be Italians! Cristina Rotunno (#1) and Barbara Bossi (#2), the two world leaders of the discipline, take hold of the first places: Cristina manages two perfects, which are the two only times of the women’s under 5 (best: 4.798), while Barbara takes the second place with one penalty and a best time in 5.015. Sara Barlocco (#38) and Chiara Lualdi (#8) qualify 5th and 6th. French Clémence Guicheteau (#3 and 2010, 11 Junior world champion) gives Europe the advantage in qualifying 4th: 5 Europeans vs. 3 Asians for the KOs. The three remaining places go to Chinese Meng Yun (#19) (3rd), and Taipeian Wang Tzu-Chien (#25) and Hsu Yi Pei (#77), who are the two last qualified (last Q time: 5.322). Chinese 2011 Battle and Classic world champions Su Fei Qian (#49) and Chen Chen (#39) fail at the threshold of the 8th place with times in the 5.400’s.

Junior Classic

The least to say is that the Junior Classic was a good operation for China: they simply got hold of ALL the medals in both categories (girls and boys). Yes indeed... And they deserved it by far: the medaled youngsters have no reasons to be jealous of their elders! They will prove it on Saturday in knocking them all out and seize all the places of the battle finals.

Cafetière Wheeling... en arrièreIn the girls’ category, let’s note (and applause) the stunning performances of Feng Hui (world #7) (remember the Michael Jackson run of Geisingen?) and team-mate Guan Yu Xiang (#16) (another name you should remember). Do not judge a book by its cover: they might be cute and all, but these girls are serial killers: Amazingly technical, super stylish and entertaining. Feng Hui keeps the title she had seized last year. What can you possibly answer to a toe Christie perfectly managed on 4 cones, backed with shifts, sevens and chicken legs – and NO penalty? Although Feng Hui was technically above, I really liked Yu Xiang’s overall performance a lot too (as for style and music matching) – Yet, she was not that far behind with her army of shifts, flips and sevens (back, front, alternate back and front) and her toe footgun on 5 cones! Wang Ding Yu Xin (#39) is the happy owner of the bronze medal while Deng Ling (#66) is relegated to the 8th place. French Zoé Granjon (#9), the only European, gets the 5thplace despite shaky legs, which does not get on well with wheeling tricks.

Junoir Women’s 4 Best by

Junior Women’s World Champion: Feng Hui (CHN)

Junior Women’s World Vice-Champion: Guan Yu Xiang (CHN)

As for the boys, the Chinese team seizes the 4 first places with merits. Zhang Hao (world #12) ends up first thanks to a perfect run with very smooth footwork and super hard combos: toe reverse shift to flip to normal shift, back toe wheeling to big sewing machine, back and front stylish sevens with open free leg (check the video), toe footgun and so on… with every single trick matching perfectly his ambitious music (Bomfunk MCs’ “Freestyler”). The junior vice-champion title goes to Ye Hao Qin (#9), less perfect – a few misplays – and less creative as for the music part, but still impressive: check out his final seven from low (bended leg) to up (straight leg)! The first non-Chinese skater is Thai Kanchanok Sawangsri (#35) who shows some punchy footwork. Too bad that a lot of his tricks were out of line. He is followed by Taipeian Huang Yu Ping (#178) and Japanese Shibagaki Masayoshi (#630). Let’s also note the participation of the Indian delegation, which sent more than 20 skaters over, including 6 junior men for Classic. Let’s hope that they take the opportunity of meeting top skaters to widen their trick dictionary!

Junoir Men’s 4 Best by

Junior Men’s World Champion: Zhang Hao (CHN)

Junior Men’s World Vice-Champion: Ye Hao Qin (CHN)

Boy Classic Results

  1. 1-Zhang Hao (CHN)
  2. Ye Hao Qin (CHN)
  3. Zhu Tian Le (CHN)
  4. Pan Yu Shuo (CHN)
  5. Sawangsri Kanchanok (THA)
  6. Huang Yu-Ping (TPE)
  7. Shibagaki Masayoshi (JPN)
  8. Rompo Chawis (THA)
  9. Ma Pak Hong (HKG)
  10. Chan Man Fung Anson (HKG)
  11. Qui Yi Ming (CHN)
  12. Rompo Chusana (THA)
  13. Lo Ng Shuen (HKG)
  14. Farbod Motavasel (IRN)
  15. Lin Chu Lok (HKG)
  16. Ng Wing Hang (HKG)
  17. Lee Chak Him (HKG)
  18.  Singh Chetanvir (IND)
  19. Pinisetty Naga Raovshyl (IND)
  20. Shah Jaival Kaushal (IND)
  21. Bhalgat Anuj Atul (IND)
  22. Siddharth Pal (IND)
  23. Manish Dahiya (IND)

Girl Classic Results

  1. Feng Hui (CHN)
  2. Guan Yu Xiang (CHN)
  3. Wang Ding Yu Xin (CHN)
  4. Huang Yu-Hsang (TPE)
  5. Granjon Zoé (FRA)
  6. Lin Hsin-Chieh (TPE)
  7. Mongkolchareonchok Chanya (THA)
  8. Deng Ling (CHN)
  9. Lee Nien-Chen (TPE)
  10. Lu Qian Qian (CHN)
  11. Moritoki Mika (JPN)
  12. Ngan Ching Yui (HKG)
  13. Chui Ka Yan (HKG)

It is now more than 11PM and the first day has just ended. The next discipline will be the Senior Women’s Classic at 8AM tomorrow morning, with great challengers such as Chinese Chen Chen (#5) (unbeaten since 2008) and Su Fei Qian (#3) (2011 Battle and Junior Classic champion), Russian Polina Semenova (#2) and Dasha Kuznetsova (#1), Polish Klaudia Hartmanis (#4) and Ukrainian Marina Boyko (#6)! The Top-6 is there, don’t miss it! Also on Friday’s schedule: women’s slide finals and men’s qualifiers, junior speed slalom, pair classic and senior men’s classic to finish the day!


WFSC 2012 in Lishui (China) - Day 2

WFSC 2012 in Lishui (China) - Day 2

Second day of competition at the 2012 WFSC World Freestyle Skating Championship in Lishui (China). This second day was dedicated to Women and Men Classic, Pair Classic, Battle first rounds...

By Close Yr E's

DAY 2 – Women and Men Classic, Pair Classic, Battle first rounds

Women’s Classic

2ème journée de compétition aux championnats du monde freestyle 2012Rain. The second day of the WFSC was regulated by the good will of rain. As soon as 6AM, we could see it drizzling through the bay window of the breakfast room… and yet, it was only a foretaste of what was to come. The bets were taken to go to the outdoors rink as planned. The first competition of the day was Women’s Classic. Hardly 8 participants have passed before the first downpour. The rink is soaking wet. We take a little break for the ground to dry before resuming the category… Which we will have just the time to finish before the clouds fall on our heads.

The Senior Women’s Classic started at 8AM and gathered great challengers such as Chinese Chen Chen (#5) (unbeaten since 2008) and Su Fei Qian (#3) (current Battle champion), Russian Polina Semenova (#2) and Dasha Kuznetsova (#1) (current European champion in Classic and Battle), Polish Klaudia Hartmanis (#4) and Ukrainian Marina Boyko (#6), as well as Chinese Meng Yun (#8): The Top-8 is there! No.7 is missing, but she competed with success in the Junior category: Feng Hui – see previous article.  

The ranking shows a clear cut between the first 7 and the last 8 women. Two inner competitions are actually taking place: the members of the Top-10 club play together, leaving the other 8 – the four Italians, two Taipeian women, another from Hong Kong and a Czech! – far behind. The results were quite predictable. Chen Chen, the title holder since the very first WSSA World Championships ends up at the foot of the podium: her skating is heavier than what it used to be and her combos are messy with a lot of tapping, she obviously did not have the time she usually has to prepare her performance. Her team-mate Meng Yun in on her heels. Marina Boyko and Polina Semenova respectively get the 6th and 7th places, with slower runs than their opponents’. Marina’s stress can be felt, however she manages a very honest performance with enjoyable footwork on the 50s and Sevens matching the music. Polina shows the same types of tricks but one step under and with more misplays. The circumstances leave the whole podium free for the new generation: Su Fei Qian, Dasha Kuznetsova and Klaudia Hartmanis get hold of the podium. The Polish does a great start, powerful, fast and technique with a back toe wheeling to shift and a toe footgun on the 80s. But a couple of misplays by the end of her performance deprive her of the title and she takes the Bronze medal. Judges are divided as for the two first places, between the Chinese and the Russian. Finally, Su Fei Qian is the new Senior World Champion with her James Bond girl performance. She may still lack implication and amplitude in her skating (she tends to looks as if she does not feel concerned) and her performance may not have been super fast, but it is no breaking news: her technical level is close to insane... back to front wheeling to heel seven, combos with shifts, footgun wheeling, and her famous 6-turn chicken leg. The Vice-Champion title goes then to Dasha Kuznetsova with her remixed theme of the Pink Panther. Just as Su Fei Qian, she shows a very clean run, and she also has solid combos: back heel wheeling to shift, shift to butterfly, toe footgun too, and sevens matching the music.

Senior Women Classic Best 5 by 

WFSC 2012 Freestyle Slalom Senior Women Best 4 by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

Women’s Classic results

  1. Su Fei Qian (CHN)
  2. Dasha Kuznetsova (RUS)
  3. Klaudia Hartmanis (POL)
  4. Chen Chen (CHN)
  5. Meng Yun (CHN)
  6. Marina Boyko (UKR)
  7. Polina Semenova (RUS)
  8. Barbara Bossi (ITA)
  9. Chiara Lualdi (ITA)
  10. Hsu Chia-Miao (TPE)
  11. Cristina Rotunno (ITA)
  12. Sara Barlocco (ITA)
  13. Lin Chien Yu (TPE)
  14. Chiu Pui Ki (HKG)
  15. Szabova Eliska (CZE)

Men’s Classic

2ème journée de compétition aux championnats du monde freestyle 2012The heavy rain has interrupted the championships, which is resumed in the indoor hall – Because of the polish, the wooden floor is grippier than the painted concrete of the rink. As the hall is a bit small for speed slalom and slides, the schedule has to be modified: the Men’s Classic (which should have finished the day) is brought forward at 2PM. And the weather showing no improvement, we will finally make the most of the indoor place in starting the first rounds of the Battle competition immediately after.

There are 34 men competing for the Classic competition. The levels are very unequal, from real beginner (India) to the world’s best freestylers. Out of the current Top-20, 15 skaters areregistered. Let’s note the absence of Spanish Jon Larrucea (#6) and Adrian Almazan (#15), Russian Viktor Meleshkevich (#10) and Andrey Shitov (#16), and Chinese prodigy Pu Hao Yang (#3) who is busy studying this year.As often in this discipline, the Koreans take the advantage: Kim Sung Jin (#2) and Lee Choong Goon (#7) (pair partners, see below) are respectively the new World champion and vice-champion – let’s call it an update rather than a breaking news. Chinese Guo Fang (#5) completes the podium. The first Europeans, ranked 4th and 5th, are French Alexandre Claris (#4) and Polish Michal Sulinowski (#11), rewarded for their big technical combos. With French Romain Lebois (#1, current Classic European Champion) who ends up 13th, they were aiming at higher rankings and their three runs had the potential to win the competition. Unfortunately, their performances were not clean enough or had too many misplays to reach the podium. Chinese Liao Jie (#19) does a noteworthy performance, embodying a soldier and dressed up in a camouflage outfit, with a mix of oppressing musics including the soundtrack of “Requiem for a Dream”: his style and footwork were created as such as they fitted the theme to perfection. An efficient piece of entertainment. And it pays off as it propels him to the 6th place despite quite a poor technical content (as for pure tricks). Chinese Li Jin Xi (#78) and Singaporean Clarence Cheung (#68) passed in the first third but managed to stay in the top of the competition ranking, ending up in the Top-10 (7th and 10th), probably thanks to their creative footwork topped with tricks which were technical enough to keep their heads out of the water.

 Senior Men Classic Best 5 by

WFSC 2012 Freestyle Slalom Senior Men best 5 by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

Men’s Classic results

  1. Kim Sung Jin (KOR)
  2.  Lee Choong Goon (KOR)
  3. Guo Fang (CHN)
  4. Alexandre Claris (FRA)
  5. Michal Sulinowski (POL)
  6. Liao Jie (CHN)
  7. Li Jin Xi (CHN)
  8. Li Yu Chen (CHN)
  9. Yu Jin Seong (KOR)
  10. Clarence Cheung (SIN)
  11. Roman Gordin (RUS)
  12. Lan Wang Heng (CHN)
  13. Romain Lebois (FRA)
  14. Kim Tae Bin (KOR)
  15. Martin Sloboda (GER)
  16. 2ème journée de compétition aux championnats du monde freestyle 2012Toh You wang (SIN)
  17. Igor Cheremetieff (FRA)
  18. Alexandre Shulhan (BRS)
  19. Carlos Nelson (SPA)
  20. Luo Jia Cheng (CHN)
  21. Tiziano Ferrari (ITA)
  22. Wang Shen Wen (TPE)
  23. Tran Quang Linh (VIE)
  24. Dao Dinh Huan (VIE)
  25. Rodrigo Morgado (BRA)
  26. Wong Tak Wa (HKG)
  27. Alansari Abdulaziz (KSA)
  28. Ricardo Lopez (MEX)
  29. Kato Katsuaki (JPN)
  30. Wong Pan Chung Gerry (HKG)
  31. Moritoki Yukio (JPN)
  32. Nugraha Mustari Satria (INA)
  33. Sunjaya Angga (INA)
  34. Parth Mehta (IND)

Pair Classic

While we were at it, we went on with the Pair Classic – There were 12 pairs to go, only Asians (from Korea, China, Taipei and Hong Kong). They were marked and ranked like normal classic: Out of 60 points for technique including variety, continuity, speed and rhythm criteria, and out of 40 points for artistic including body performance, music expression and trick management to the music and to the line – the artistic mark is dependent from the attributed technique level of the skater… To those 100 points were added 20 points for synchronization.

Most of the pairs are made of a boy and a (little) girl and convey a happy flower-candy-carebear atmosphere, with the adequate music. Cute. The epitome of this picture is the Chinese pair made of Wang Ding Yu Xin and Liao Jie, the creative choreographer (soldier), who proves once more with this performance that his imagination is limitless. Sometimes, pairs are little boy / little girl. Cute too. Like Thai Kanchanok Sawangsri and Chanya Mongkolchareonchok who finish their run joining their arms to make a heart <3. Sometimes it’s a man thing (no understatement) Like Chinese Zhu Tian Le and Zhan Hao (new Junior Champ’ in Classic – see previous article ). But as young as they they may be, they are not cute, rather frightening. Technically frightening… Mirror toe footgun on 5 cones, 4-cone toe seven to the music, synchronized shift combos… But here, cuteness wins over technique, as Liao Jie’s pair ends up just in front of them, at the 4th place! Their team-mates Guo Fang and Su Fei Qian make the good mix and combine cuteness and technique: they reach the 2nd place! And in the midst of this escalation of sweetness, burst in two great skaters with an equally great sense of self-mockery and entertainment, who choose to defend the cause of partying and burn the hall down with their performance. Koreans Kim Sung Jin and Lee Choong Goon add to their brand-new world champion and vice champion titles in Classic, that of co-world champions in pair! Great harvest tonight!

Pair World Champions KSJ & LCG (KOR)

Pair Classic Best 5 by

Pair Classic results

  1. Kim Sung Jin/Lee Choong Goon (KOR)
  2. Guo Fang/Su Fei Qian (CHN)
  3. Yu Jin Seong/Kim Tae Bin (KOR)
  4. Liao Jie/Wang Ding Yu Xin (CHN)
  5. Zhang Hao/Zhu Tian Le (CHN)
  6. Clarence Cheung/Toh You Wang (SIN)
  7. Kanchanok Sawangsri/Chanya Mongkolchareonchok (THA)
  8. Huang Yu-Ping/Kao Lin-Ta (TPE)
  9. Wang Shen-Wen/Huang Yu-Hsuan (TPE)
  10. Ma Pa Hong/Chan Man Fung Anson (HKG)
  11. Leung Shun Yan/Wong Tak Wa (HKG)
  12. Ng Wing Hang/Lee Chak Him (HKG)

Battle Qualifiers

Now that everybody has warmed up, we are ready for the Battle qualifiers! In the Men’s category, 14 skaters divided into 4 groups tried their luck: Only the No.1 of each group had the opportunity to take part in the real thing. In the Women’s category, only 1 place was left for 4 pretenders. Once the pre-qualifications done, the evening went on with the first round of the Men’s battle (Eighth Finals).

As you may guess, as soon as that first round, some of the fights are close and valuable skaters do not go through. Thus, in Group 2, Singaporean Clarence Cheung is knocked out by Polish Michal Sulinowski, saved for having been slightly more varied. Young Thai Kanchanok Sawangsri finds himself in a bad group and is one step under the real fight: French Alexandre Claris and Chinese Li Yu Chen aim at the first place. Once again, variety pays off: with the same crazy technical level, Alexandre proves to be more varied in showing both heel and toe wheeling tricks, unlike his opponent who restricts himself to toe.

One hour and a half later, the quarter final groups are ready for tomorrow. Breakage is coming!

According to the weather tomorrow, we will alternate if needed between the outdoor and indoor venues. Speed slalom and slides, given the space needed, should imperatively take place at the speed skating rink. At the first ray of sunshine, the competition will head to there in priority, as battle fits perfectly in the indoor place. This will be the last day and we are running late on the schedule (the slides should have taken place today). Let’s hope everything will go for the best!


WFSC 2012, Lishui: Saturday, Aug. 25th - Day 3.1 – Speed Slalom and Slides

WFSC 2012The schedule has been totally modified and it is running a bit late. Not impossible, but busy: Priority is given to the competitions of speed slalom and slides while it is dry, and battle in the end whether outside on the ring or inside in the hall.

Speed Slalom Junior Qualifiers: competing with the times of the Seniors :Girls Qualifiers

Let’s not waste time and start while the weather conditions are clement. A quick presentation of the judges (did I tell you that the judges had a marching and a presentation every morning? I bet I did not. And with good reason), a quick warm up and the junior women start their qualifications. Same conditions as for the Seniors on Thursday (see report Day 1): Free start and two checking devices on the finish line (cells and a high speed camera). There are 22 registered girls and only the first 8 should take part in the KO systems.

The two juniors of the French Team qualify: Tiffany Derisbourg (#6) ranks 2nd only 0.001 behind the first qualified, Chinese Lu Qian Qian (#43, 4.971), while Zoé Granjon (#10) is 6th with a regular performance – two perfects in the 5.1’s. The rest of the qualified girls is essentially made of Chinese (3) and of Taipeian (3), including Chinese all-rounders Feng Hui (7th – speed #33, new classic world champ’) and Guan Yu Xiang (speed #45, new World Vice-Champ’ in Classic Junior) who ranks 3rd with 5.035… i.e. with only 0.02 more than the Senior’s 2nd Barbara Bossi (ITA, #2)! The last qualification time is 5.286… which is lower than that of the Senior Women’s (5.322). The Junior’s and Senior’s times are around the same range, except for senior Cristina Rotunno’s (#1, ITA), which is the best qualification time of all women by far with 4.798. Let’s note that contrary to the Seniors, all the 8 qualified Juniors managed one run out of the two without penalties (against 3 seniors). The Seniors tend to be more greedy on the start race and go over the first cone.

Junior Women Qualifiers, Best 8

  1. Lu Qian Qian (CHN)
  2. Tiffany Derisbourg (FRA)
  3. Guan Yu Xiang (CHN)
  4. Su Pei-Ching (TPE)
  5. Huang Cai-Jhu (TPE)
  6. Zoé Granjon (FRA)
  7. Feng Hui (CHN)
  8. Liang Hsuan Min (TPE)

Boys Qualifiers

First fright of the day. Rain is coming back in the middle of the boys’ qualifiers. We are just starting the second qualifying runs that drops force us to cover the competition area with tarpaulin and wait. Hopefully, it was not a big cloud and the wind was very helpful.

The Junior men are 25 to try their luck at the qualifiers, for only 8 places available in the KO systems. To be qualified, it is quite simple: you have to be under 5.0. The times are getting lower and lower, down to 4.482 and 4.493 for the first 2, Chinese Pan Yu Shuo (#81) and Taipeian Wu Dong-Jiun (#758). The Taipeians are easy to recognize, they all skate with only three wheels! There is an important gap of almost 0.2 between the times of the 3rd (Wu Don-Yan – TPE, #193) and the 4th (Qiu Yi Ming – CHN, #690), jumping from 4.503 to 4.696.

Only the first 4 qualify with one perfect. In fact, this is not totally correct: the 8th does qualify with a perfect, having decided to play safe with a slow second run after a void first run: The last Q. time is then 4.913. The boy is called Farbod Motavasel (#NR) and has the special feature of being Iranian! Let’s also note the qualifications at the 6th and 7th places of the Chinese all-rounders Ye Hao Qin (#87, 2011 speed world vice-champ’) and Zhang Hao (#46) who mastered the Classic competition yesterday.

Just like for the Junior Women, the Junior Men’s time range is roughly the same as the Senior’s: the first 6 juniors would have been part of the first 8 seniors, the first junior qualified would have been ranked 3rd in the senior competition, and the 8th and last junior would still have been 13th.

Junior Men Qualifiers, Best 8

  1. Pan Yu Shui (CHN)
  2. Wu Dong-Jiun (TPE)
  3. Wu Dong-Yan (TPE)
  4. Qiu Yi Ming (CHN)
  5. Huang Yu-Ping (TPE)
  6. Ye Hao Qin (CHN)
  7. Zhang Hao (CHN)
  8. Farbod Motavasel (IRI)

Speed Slalom Junior KO Systems

Girls KO Systems: the Chinese domination

Quarter finals – The first four qualified girls make it through to the semi-finals at the expense of the last four. The first two groups were mere formalities: Lu Qian Qian (CHN, 1st Q.) and Su Pei-Ching (TPE, 4th Q.) get rid of Liang Hsuan Min (TPE, 8th Q.) and Huang Cai-Jhu (TPE, 5th Q.) in two runs, cleaner and faster (2 to 3 tenths ahead). The outcome of the group gathering Tiffany Derisbourg (FRA, 2nd Q.) and Feng Hui (CHN, 7th Q.) was quite obvious although the French got a small fright in losing the second run because of two penalties. But all is well that ends well, and she makes up for it in winning the third run. As for the second French, Zoé Granjon (6th Q.), she does not make it through and leaves room for Guan Yu Xiang (CHN, 3rd Q.).

WFSC 2012Semi finals – Lu Qian Qian makes short work of Su Pei-Ching. On the other hand, Tiffany Derisbourg and Guan Yu Xiang are pretty close. Tiffany is a bit faster but not enough to be out of reach in case of a penalty. The first run is a perfect for both of them and Tiffany takes the advantage. On the second run she gets a penalty, which enables Guan Yu Xiang, who was only 0.03 behind, to tie. The third run will decide: Unfortunately for Tiffany, the Chinese runs with a clockwork cleanliness and her 0.1 lead is not enough to make up for her penalty. Guan Yu Xiang’s steadiness is rewarded and she qualifies for the final.

Consolation final – French Tiffany Derisbourg is 0.3 ahead of Taipeian Su Pei-Ching and she only needs two runs to seal the round.

Final – The final is Chinese… and pretty tight! Lu Qian Qian and Guan Yu Xiang both run around or under 5.5 and they are awfully clean: There is not a single cone down or missed in the three runs of the final. The first run goes to LQQ with a lead of almost a 0.1. But GYX speeds up and ties with a lead of 0.003 on the second run! The third run is less close but yet not won in advance: LQQ is 5.342 and GYX 5.371. The title goes to Lu Qian Qian who managed to lead the competition from the qualifications till the end.

Results of the Junior Women’s Speed Slalom

  1. Lu Qian Qian (CHN)
  2. Guan Yu Xiang (CHN)
  3. Tiffany Derisbourg (FRA)
  4. Su Pei-Ching (TPE)

Boys KO Systems: The Iranian surprise

Quarter finals – The boys’ KO Systems start with a real surprise: the first group gathers Pan Yu Shuo (CHN) and Farbod Motavasel (IRI), i.e. the first and last qualified skaters. That is when the crowd understands that the Iranian is a very good speed slalomer and that he just did not give his best for the qualifiers: he can run in the 5.0’s! He takes the advantage on the first run (with a perfect in 5.079 v. a void run) but loses it on the second run, being slower and with more penalties than the Chinese. The final run is intense: Pan Yu Shuo goes under the 5.0’s with a time of 4.954… too bad for Farbod who is 5.033. But wait: The first-cone judge raises his finger for the Chinese! His penalty relegates him behind Farbod, who qualifies for the semi-finals! The other three groups gather a Chinese and a Taipeian each. And the Chinese are having a rough time: Two of them are knocked out in two runs only (Qiu Yi Ming and Zhang Hao) by Huang Yu-Ping and Wu Dong-Jiun. Ye Hao Qin saves face and is the last Chinese in the running.

Semi finals – The first group stages Iranian Farbod Motavasel and Taipeian Huang Yu-Ping, one of the favorites of the competition. The latter has a clear speed advantage: he wins the first run by a good margin despite a penalty (pure time: 4.878, final time: 5.078) even if Farbod is far from being ridiculous with his perfect run in 5.127. The second run is a mess and the Iranian makes the most of it to tie: during the start race the Taipeian abnormally swerves on the side… His frame is unscrewing! He asks for a time out to fix it before the third run… which he wins hands up with a perfect run in 4.905 v. one penalty and a final time of 5.249 for Farbod. The second group is even messier: Ye Hao Qin makes a strike in the first run, and is not fast neither clean enough to make up for it in the second run. Final advantage to Wu Dong-Jiun who reaches the final.

Consolation final – Just like in the semi finals, Ye Hao Qin fails his first run and Farbod Motavasel takes the lead with merit (perfect run in 5.021). The latter is faster on the second run but a penalty relegates him behind Ye Hao Qin who ties. And the final run goes to the Iranian with a lead of more than 0.2. He gets a well-deserved third place!

Final – The final is between two team-mates of Taipei and is sorted out in only two runs. Same scenario on both runs: Huang Yu-Ping (who had to fix his frame in the last round) is in the 4.9’s with two penalties while Wu Dong-Jiun is in the 5.1’s with no penalty… work it out: Wu Dong-Jiun is the winner.

Results of the Junior Men’s Speed Slalom

  1. Wu Dong-Jiun (TPE)
  2. Huang Yu-Ping (TPE)
  3. Farbod Motavasel (IRI)
  4. Ye Hao Qin (CHN)

Speed Slalom Senior KO Systems

Women’s KO Systems: the bitter taste of unfinished business

WFSC 2012Quarter finals – Half of the qualified skaters are from Team Italy (see report Day 1: And « fate » is a great provider because the 4 of them are dispatched in the 4 quarter-final groups: No fratricidal dual for this round. While Cristina Rotunno and Barbara Bossi, the two first qualified (and the world #1 and #2!), easily get rid of their Taipeian opponents with two perfect runs each, things are getting tougher for their team-mates Sara Barlocco (#38) and Chiara Lualdi (#6) who respectively meet French Clémence Guicheteau (#3, 2010-11 jr world champ’ and 2012 european vice-champ’) and Chinese Meng Yun (#19). For both, the scenario is roughly the same: after having lost the first run, they tie on the second run and are slower than their opponents on their third run. By the end of the Quarter Finals, half of the Italian team has been decimated and there is only one Asian remaining.

Semi finals – Thanks to their good qualification ranking, the two remaining Italians are in different groups and stand as the favorites. And with good reason: they both knock out their opponents and go through to the next round… the Final! (We are finally going to have it, the fratricidal dual!) Cristina Rotunno does not have much to do against Clémence Guicheteau: she is more than 0.2 ahead on the first run and Clémence’s second run is void… Barbara Bossi’s challenge is more interesting: she takes the lead on the first run and is ahead too on the second run… but she is penalized with +0.2 over a missed first cone which results in a time tie: 5.557 for her and Meng Yun. The second run has to be redone. She speeds up to 5.234 (!) and gets two penalties in the rush. But still, Meng Yun’s perfect run is not enough to offer her the run and Barbara wins the third run (and the qualification to the final) with a final time of 5.634 against 5.659.

Consolation final – Let’s prolong the suspense before the final fight with the consolation final, gathering French Clémence Guicheteau and Chinese Meng Yun. The times are close but Clémence gets the better of Meng Yun in only two runs: two perfect runs, being 2 hundredths ahead on the first one and her cleanliness wins over her opponent’s speed on the second run (5.537 with 0 penalty v. 5.502 with 2 penalties). The French reaches the third step of the Senior Women’s Speed Slalom podium.

Final – The ultimate fight of the 2012 season is about to happen. The pressure is palpable and this must be quite an awkward situation: the two team-mates are on the start line and ready for the final stage… Somehow it tastes like home, but this is it, this is the real thing. And somehow too it has a strong taste of déjà vu: they were both in the same final last year for the World Championships of Geisingen, Ger. On the one hand there is Cristina Rotunno, brand-new #1 (July ’12) and current European Champion. On the other hand there is Barbara Bossi, brand-new #2 (freshly dethroned by Cristina after 22 months of ruling) and two-times world champion (2010, 2011). The tone is set as soon as the first run: they fight in the 5.2’s. Barbara Bossi wins the first run being slightly ahead and with only 1 penalty (against 2 for Cristina). The roles are reversed for the second run so that they are tie. The third run is decisive. They are nervous on the start line. “On your marks… Get ready…” FALSE START for Barbara. Back to the line, striking the pose. “On your marks… Get ready…” and believe it or not, FALSE START for Barbara. Again. Two false starts in a row are disqualifying. And this is how Cristina Rotunno becomes World Champion with a bitter taste of unfinished business…

Results of the Senior Women’s Speed Slalom

  1. Cristina Rotunno (ITA)
  2. Barbara Bossi (ITA)
  3. Clémence Guicheteau (FRA)
  4. Meng Yun (CHN)

Men’s KO Systems: a premature final in quarter-finals

Eights finals – With initially 46 skaters registered for the qualifiers, the Men’s category is the only one to be treated with eights finals: the best 16 were kept for the KO Systems (see report Day 1: Most of the groups only need two runs to be completed. The 1st qualified, Chinese Guo Fang (#4), gets rid of Italian Luca Ulivieri, slower and messier. The 2nd qualified, Taipeian Yang Hsin-Chiao (#15) knocks out Polish Michal Sulinowski (#26) in 3 runs: fast but messy (runs in the 5.1’s but gets 3 penalties on each of his 3 runs), he is lucky that his opponent is not cleaner – indeed, Michal manages a perfect first run and takes the lead, but the Taipeian catches up.The 3rd qualified, Chinese Lan Wang Heng (#16) is clean and 0.2 ahead of Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryazantsev (RUS, #12), the two runs are a mere formality. Same comment for Italian Savio Brivio (#9), the 4th qualified, despite a poor tendency to get a first-cone penalty… He is still far in front of Jireh Goh (SIN, #360): first run in 4.795 – he is not even getting over the 5.0 with his penalty (4.995), second run in 4.818 (pure time)… The 5th qualified skater’s dual is not harder but it is quite moving: Italian Simone Nai Oleari (#3) has to knock out his team-mate Tiziano Ferrari (#7). The latter is pretty fast (runs in the 5.1’s) but Simone is faster and super steady: the round is done after two perfect runs in 4.931 and 4.932. The 6th qualified, Korean Kim Sung Jin (#3), is cleaner than his Chinese opponent Luo Jia Cheng (#329), which is a great advantage when you meet a skater with about the same speed as yours: two runs are enough to go through. The 7th vs. 10th qualified skaters’ group is the only one not ending with the qualifiers favorite winning: 10th qualified French Alexandre Claris (#4) cleanly gets rid of Chinese Li Yu Chen (#24) in two runs. As for the last group, Korean Yu Jin Seong (#13) knocks out French Igor Cheremetieff (#14) in a three-run fight unfolding in the 5.2’s.

Guess who’s back? Back again? (not Eminem) Rain is back! And this time, daddy cloud is in charge of the pouring. And it is nasty! But we are starting to have the hang of things: Picking up cones, covering electronic equipment, covering area, waiting, deciding to have lunch break, making the most of wasted time in launching reward ceremonies for competitions of yesterday and of the morning, going for lunch even if now it is dry and sunny – because everybody has gone to fill their stomachs anyway, going back on competition area and resume men’s KOs at 2:30PM. Check.

Quarter finals – The round witnesses a couple of reversals of situation! Let’s start with the less improbable outcomes: The two Chinese Guo Fang and Lan Wang Heng knock out the two Koreans, respectively Yu Jin Seong and Kim Sung Jin, in two winning runs. Although they run around the same speed, the Chinese are yet slightly faster on the whole, and cleaner. Now let’s talk about the exciting things: Alexandre Claris, the 10th qualified whose average speed is around 5.2, wins the group against Taipeian 3-wheeler Yan Hsin-Chio who is more the 5.0 type of guy. The latter completely fails both of his runs: a void first run and 4 penalties on the second run. A stroke of luck for the French who consequently goes through to the semi-finals! I kept the most sensational group for last: the second group gathered Italian team-mates Simone Nai Oleari and Savio Brivo… two favorites for the Gold. What a waste! It is a premature final. They both run under 5.0 and the suspense is there. The first run looks pretty much like a tie, and judges have a hard time trying to find a winner even with the High speed camera. Unfortunately, this brings the judges to realize that Savio set his free foot on the ground slightly before the finish line (not visible to the naked eye) and his run is declared void. However, Savio remains focused and manages to tie on the second run with an impressive perfect in 4.829 (v. a perfect in 4.929 for Simone). Simone does not hold the pressure on the third run and makes a strike, offering the qualification to the semi-finals to his opponent.

Semi finals – Savio Brivio must have given all he had on the previous round… He knocks himself out in the first Group, giving the ticket to the final to Guo Fang: a void first run and three penalties on the second run. Yet, with his two runs under 5.0 (pure time), the Chinese showed himself worthy of the qualification. The outcome of the other semi final was predictable: Chinese Lan Wang Heng, cleaner and faster, knocks out French Alexandre Claris in two perfect and steady runs (5.009 and 5.005). The two finalists jump in the arms of each other at the announcement of Wang Heng’s qualification. The Women’s final was Italian, but the Men’s final will be Chinese!

Consolation final – No surprises here, the pressure is gone and Savio Brivio pulverizes Alexandre Claris with times in the 4.8’s – a first-cone penalty on the first run and a perfect second run. If he had done the same results against Guo Fang, he would have been the one taking part in the final…

Final – The atmosphere is lighter than during the Women’s final. The feeling it conveys is that they have made it, they are here together, and they are just glad of their achievement. The final is interesting. Both skaters are clean and run under the 5.0. The first run is a perfect run for both of them and goes to Guo Fang, who is 0.02 faster. He is still faster on the second run but his first-cone penalty costs him the victory on the run, and enables Lan Wang Heng to tie. The third and deciding run is a perfect run for the two men, although once again Guo Fang is slightly faster (4.955 v. 4.989). He wins the round, the competition and the world title with merits.

Results of the Senior Men’s Speed Slalom

  1. Guo Fang (CHN)
  2. Lang Wang Heng (CHN)
  3. Savio Brivio (ITA)
  4. Alexandre Claris (FRA)

Slides Competition

WFSC 2012No rest for the brave! – Let’s follow with the women’s and men’s slides competitions while it is sunny (we never know). But first, I have to make a confession: the slides was the only competition that I was not judging and I had a well-deserved break – which was not a real break as I used it to continue writing my reports. I will then just give you the results… (as usual anyway, as I am not a slide specialist.)

Slides Women

There were only 5 women competing, including 3 Russians who take hold of the podium, a Chinese who ends up at the foot of the podium, and an Italian. Given their number, the competition started directly with the final. Olga Fokina is the new World Champion, and her team-mate Natalia Krykova retains her World Vice-Champion title of last year.

Slide Women Results

  1. Olga Fokina (RUS)
  2. Natalia Krykova (RUS)
  3. Liudmila Li (RUS)
  4. Chen Yuan (CHN)
  5. Chiara Lualdi (ITA)

Slides Men

Contrary to the women, the men were quite a lot: 18 of them had registered. They have to go through qualifications to reach the semi finals. Only 10 of them will have the opportunity to remain in the running, and they have only two slides to convince the judges. The first qualified is Chinese Dong Lei, followed by Russian Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryazantsev and Chinese Zhao Zhen Hua. On top of the Chinese and Russian, there were sliders from Malaysia, Vietnam, Taipei, Singapore and Spain!

The 10 qualified sliders are divided into 2 semi final groups of 5, and are treated to 3 slides. Only the best 3 of each group go through to the final. This is where the competition stops for Malaysian Lew Yun Choon and Vietnamese Dao Dinh Huan of the first group, and for Singaporeans Jasper Lee and Clement Khoo of the second group.

The final group is made of the 6 remaining skaters and is won by the two Chinese Dong Lei (first of the qualifiers) and Zhao Zhen Hua, with Chung Yung-Tzu of Taipei completing the podium. Russian ReKiL ends up at the foot of the podium.

Slide Men Results

  1. Dong Lei (CHN)
  2. Zhao Zhen Hua (CHN)
  3. Chung Yung-Tzu (TPE)
  4. Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryazantzev (RUS)

WFSC 2012 Slides by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

The biggest part of the competitions of the day is done, there are only the men’s and women’s battles remaining, which we hasten to start. We are obviously late because of the rain interludes but the delay is reasonable and we already know that we will manage to finish the program! The next (and last) report with focus on the Battle competition.

WFSC 2012, Lishui: Saturday, Aug. 25th - DAY 3.2 – Battle Competition

...but the delay is reasonable and we already know that we will manage to finish the program! The next (and last) report will focus on the Battle competition. 

After the competitions of Speed Slalom and Slides, let’s make room for Battles! The competition has already started yesterday evening in the sports hall with the pre-qualifiers and the men’s first rounds (eights finals), so that both men and women are at the same stage on that Saturday evening: Quarter-Finals. The competition unfolds alternating men and women, so that the two categories are treated in parallel and the two finals happen one after the other. For more clarity, I will not organize the report in a chronological order (by rounds), but one category after the other.

Women’s Battle: Quarter Finals

Women's Battle: Quarter finalsWomen’s Quarter Final #1 by Frozwheels

Women’s Quarter Final #2 by Frozwheels

Women’s Quarter Final #3 by Frozwheels

Women’s Quarter Final #4 by Frozwheels

QF#1 –There are 16 women divided into 4 groups. Out of the qualified women, 11 of them are in the Top-16… As soon as the first group, decisions are hard to take for the crucial second place: Fight 1 – Zoé Granjon v. Meng Yun. The first place goes to Daria Kuznetsova by right: She is high above in her two runs, with a long combo made of a [ back to front Wheeling + cobra + Korean spins ] as well as a [ 10-cone heel seven ] on her first run, a good [ 10-cone toe footgun ] and a [ toe shift + butterfly (changing the front leg in the middle) ] for her second run. Huan Yu-Hsuan, who won the pre-qualifiers of yesterday (see video), ends up 4th. Only Meng Yun and Zoé Granjon remain and it is hard to choose… their performances are quite messy (lots of cones down), Meng Yun shows slightly harder technical tricks or combos like [ back heel seven ] or [ toe flip + seven ] but Zoé’s tricks last longer and she has more links… The French finally goes through to the next round. This is a 2 v. 1 decision.

QF#2 –The second group witnesses another dual: Klaudia Hartmanis v. Chen Chen! They are fighting for the first place and they are very determined: big combos for the two of them [ back-front-back heel Wheeling ] for Klaudia, [ butterfly + back-front toe Wheeling + shift + seven ] for Chen Chen… and let’s not forget side-tricks such as [ toe wiper ] for Chen Chen, and [ toe foot gun ] and [ kasakspin + kasakchok] for Klaudia…The Polish is more varied with her sitting tricks but the Chinese convinces 2 judges out of 3 for the first place.  

QF#3 –Things come in threes. It is then quite naturally that the judges come across another divided decision for the third group where Chinese team-mates Su Fei Qian and Guan Yu Xiang redouble their efforts for the first place. Marina Boyko is in the running too, but the Chinese dexterity get the better of her, although she fought bravely: [ toe footgun on 10 cones ] and [ kasakspin ], [ heel seven on 12 ] and [ toe seven on 8 ], her [ special heel flip on 15 cones ] and a creditable combo [ butterfly + flip + seven ]. The Chinese strike stronger with [ toe footguns ] longer than hers, bigger combos [ back cobra + toe shift + flip ] for Guan Yu Xiang, back and forth tricks on the line [ heel shift 11 + 16 ] for Su Fei Qian and [ sewing machine left & right with a stop’n go transition ] for Guan Yu Xiang… The question is: Who should rank first? Guan Yu Xiang, the 2012 junior speed and classic world vice-champion, takes the advantage with a 2 v. 1 decision, in front of Su Fei Qian the 2012 senior classic world champion.

QF#4 –The fourth group is led by 2012 junior classic world champion Feng Hui and is the only one to run smoothly. The ranking is quite clear, with Wang Ching Yu-Xin 2nd, Polina Semenova 3rd and Barbara Bossi 4th. Feng Hui dominates the group: super fast [ heel seven ], super long [ toe chicken leg ], impressive combos [ back-front toe Wheeling + big sewing-machine ], and original attempts [ heel + toe shift with a jumped transition ], etc.

WFSC 2012 Slalom Battle Women SemiFinals by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

Women’s Semi-Finals

Women's Battle: semi finalsWomen’s Semi Final #1 by Frozwheels

Women’s Semi Final #2 by Frozwheels

Women’s Semi Finals by

SF#1 – The first semi-final is a Chinese group with a Russian lost in the middle. But Daria Kuznetsova is not intimidated and seizes one of the two qualifying places for the final! She is varied, quite clean and shows clever combos. Su Fei Qian qualifies too with impressive shifts, flips, sevens, chicken legs, and of course the fashionable toe footgun. On the other hand, Chen Chen does not seem to have come up with a battle plan and uselessly persists in doing [ toe shifts ] again and again, from her very first trick to her very last. Although she does a couple of (unconvincing) sevens, a christie and a butterfly to vary a bit, it is far from being enough to go through. As for Wang Ding Yu Sin, the last competitor of the group, she showed quite a varied and strong performance with combos such as [ heel reverse shift + flip on 12 cones ], [ heel flips ] and [ heel shifts ] on 15 cones, etc. but she still lacks maturity and power in her skating. This will come with age.

SF#2 – The second semi-final gathers two European and two Chinese. Guan Yu Xiang and Feng Hui get hold of the two qualifying places, leaving the consolation final to Klaudia Hartmanis and Zoé Granjon. They did pretty good performances though… but the Chinese were Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger. Just to mention a few: [ big sewing-machine on 15 cones ] [ toe Christie on 15 ] [ toe shift on the whole line, stop’n go for 4 more cones ] for Feng Hui, [ toe wiper on 15 cones ] [ toe footgun on 14 ] [ toe shift + toe seven on 4 cones then back on 15 ] for Guan Yu Xian…

Consolation Final

Women’s Consolation Final by Frozwheels

Women’s Consolation Final by

The European’s Revenge. The same protagonists come into the ring. They have only two runs and one last trick to convince the judges. They have already shown all their cards and they also know the qualities and weaknesses of their opponents. Klaudia Hartmanis is careful to show a bit of everything: heel and toe wheelings, spins and sitting tricks, and she is the only competitor to do external seven which she highlights in presenting it as her last trick. Her clever performance propels her to the 1st place of the consolation, i.e. to the 5th overall place. Zoé Granjon opts for the same strategy.

 Women's Battle: finalsShe is a bit less clean but her 15-cone toe seven as a last trick puts her at the 2nd place (6th overall), in front of Wang Ding Yu Xin who despite impressive flips and shifts, and good combos, obviously did not gain power and speed over the round. Let’s note her cute last trick: a flip cobra, alternating front and back every two cones. Chen Chen ends up last, more because of strategy deficiency than because of lack of potential: if she can do combos such as [ butterfly + back toe Wheeling + shift to seven ], why does she bother doing a basic [ front heel Wheeling on 20 cones ], and why does she stubbornly  and irreparably goes back to [ toe shift ] even when she has managed one already ?


Women’s Final by Frozwheels

Women’s Final by

The final moment has come. The finalists are called to the judges’ table in order to choose in which order they are going to run. After a couple of jokes from the junior Chinese, the order is set. The outcome of the final is not written in advance as any of them four could be the winner and the new World Champion of Battle. We have here the four highest ranked in Classic: the senior and junior champions and vice-champions!

Su Fei Qian is finally the winner of the round and keeps the title she won last year. The decision was tough and the three judges had a hard time making a common decision: Su Fei Qian is consecrated World Champion at the expense of Guan Yu Xiang. Indeed, the latter is far better in sevens and sitting tricks, she is impressively powerful (see her [ toe wipers ] and how she pushes on her [ back and forth sevens ]) but she has an Achilles heel – perfectly fitting the context: a shy [ 6-cone heel shift ] is all she has on heel… Su Fei Qian is better at shifts and shows more heel-toe variety, which is going to be the deciding point. Feng Hui had a good start with her two first runs, but she fails and repeats herself quite a lot on her third run and she misses her last trick, the toe Christie which she yet managed perfectly on all the previous rounds… That loss of steam relegates her at the 3rd place. The 4th place goes then to Daria Kuznetsova who has less crazy combos and is slower. However, she did not prove herself unworthy of her presence in the final at all.

Results of the Women’s Battle

  1. Su Fei Qian (CHN)
  2. Guan Yu Xiang (CHN)
  3. Feng Hui (CHN)
  4. Daria Kuznetsova (RUS)
  5. Klaudia Hartmanis (POL)
  6. Zoé Granjon (FRA)
  7. Wang Ding Yu Xin (CHN)
  8. Chen Chen (CHN)

WFSC 2012 Slalom Battle Women Final by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

Men’s Battle

Men’s Quarter Finals

Men's Battle: quarter finalsMen’s Quarter Final #1 by Frozwheels

Men’s Quarter Final #2 by Frozwheels

Men’s Quarter Final #3 by Frozwheels

Men’s Quarter Final #4 by Frozwheels

QF#1 – Just as for the women, most of the men’s quarter final groups are close. The first group stages two fights: that of the qualified skaters, Romain Lebois and Zhang Hao (but in which order?) and that of the non-qualified Roman Gordin and Lan Wang Heng (but in which order too?). Compared to Gordin, Wang Heng does not have any combo except a [ heel stop’n go reverse shift ] and repeats himself in doing 3 [ heel sevens ] whereas they only have two runs… On the other hand, Gordin shows complicated combos, which are not always very clean, but meticulously does them, once on the toe and once on the heel. However his combos are not big enough and he lacks sitting tricks to rival with the first 2! Between Zhang Hao and Romain Lebois, it is decided to encourage the Chinese who took the time to show some freestyle and who was particularly fast: with equivalent technical levels, these details can make the difference.

QF#2 – The second group is quite tight too: The 4 skaters have the potential to go through and nothing is set in advance. Unfortunately for him, Pan Yu Shuo fails a lot, going out of line or not completing his tricks, and (consequently) his overall performance lacks linking. He ends up 4th. Lee Choong Goon shows very long toe and heel shifts and a few sevens, but his panel of tricks is quite small. He ends up 3rd. The last two remaining are certain to go through but they still need to be ranked. Guo Fang finally wins the group with a wide performance in front of Michal Sulinowski who is hot on his heels, with (amongst others) his combo on the 50s [ toe wiper + sewing-machine + stop’n go alternating sewing-machine and back toe wheeling on the line back ].

QF#3 –The third group is the only group with no Chinese skater in it: the other three have all 2 Chinese out of the 4 skaters. It is made of 3 Europeans and 1 Korean, and just like in the two previous groups they all have the technical level to go through. However, it is Alexandre Claris who stands out in two runs close to perfection, with long and varied combos smoothly achieved. Let’s note his [ toe footgun ] on the whole 120s and his [ 11-cone toe shift + 20-cone toe seven on the line back ]. He takes the first place with merits. On the other hand, Carlos Nelson has too many misplays and kicks too many cones for him to have enough interesting tricks to compete, although the panel of tricks he had planned to show was promising. He takes the 4th place. As for the second place, it is not hard to decide between Yu Jin Seong and Martin Sloboda: they show more or less the same tricks, but the Korean’s last almost twice as long… and he qualifies in 2nd position for the semi-finals.

QF#4 – The fourth group has its share of losses… and this one is pretty unexpected. Without surprise, Ye Hao Qin takes the lead, with a [ 8-cone toe Christie ] and a [ 20-cone toe seven starting  from standing and ending with a spin ] amongst other tricks. Igor Cheremetieff knew that he was technically one step under and enjoyed his last runs with powerful freestyle. There is only one place left for the next round… and the two remaining skaters, Li Yu Chen and Kim Sung Jin, are worthy of it. They both have their qualities and their flaws, the Chinese lacking toe Wheeling and the Korean lacking sitting tricks for example, so that in order to decide, the judges ask for a best trick! A coin is tossed to know which one will go first. Li Yu Chen starts with a [ toe shift ]. He stops after only 6 cones, the time is not up yet and he can have a second try: almost two lines and a half managing [ toe shift ] is his final answer (20+20+12 cones and a couple kicked). Kim Sung Jin decides to take up the challenge with the same trick on the heel. He skates smoothly along the line, 20 cones, he is now coming back, good beginning… and he taps and stop after 7 cones! The verdict is announced: Li Yu Chen goes through at the expense of Kim Sung Jin.

By the end of the quarter finals, a good bunch of great skaters, including 3 of the Top-10 are already out : Kim Sung Jin (KOR, #2), Lee Choong Goon (KOR, #7) and Martin Sloboda (GER, #8)… but also Igor Cheremetieff (FRA, #14), Roman Gordin (RUS, #17), Lan Wang Heng (CHN, #18), Carlos Nelson (SPA, #25) and Pan Yu Shuo (CHN, #33). The overall level is becoming so tight that the slightest mistake or misplay can be fatal. Today, pure technique is not enough: a good strategy is vital too!

WFSC 2012 Slalom Battle Men Semifinals by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

Men’s Semi Finals

Men's Battle: quarter semiMen’s Semi Final #1 by Frozwheels

Men’s Semi Final #2 by Frozwheels

Men’s Semi Finals by

SF#1 – Zhang Hao dominates the group with complex combos made of shifts and flips, with surprises inserted here and there (stall to stop’n go, inside chicken leg etc.) The other 3 skaters are closer. Li Yu Chen is out of the race because he did not show that many tricks or tricks different from the ‘compulsory’ shifts, flips and sevens of the competition. Guo Fang and Yu Jin Seong are so close that they are treated to a best trick… which does not help the judges much to decide: a [ toe footgun on 7 cones (-1) ] for Guo Fang v. a [ 9-cone heel shift ] for Yu Jin Seong. The decision is a 2 v. 1 choice in favor of Guo Fang. And I am the one who voted against, because according to me a shift implies multiple changes of direction (more unbalancing) and thus is theoretically harder than a toe footgun.

SF#2 – The outcome of the second group is more obvious, although quite close. Ye Hao Qin and Romain Lebois take hold of the two qualifying places for the final: Romain manages a [ 20-cone toe footgun on the 80s ], YHQ answers back with a [ 10-cone toe Christie ], and Romain counters with a [ 6-cone back toe footgun ]. YHQ quickly takes the advantage with huge tricks that are less popular during the battle than Romain’s, like [ toe wiper on 11 cones ] or [ big sewing-machine on 15 cones ], and he’s starting to unveil the tricks he had on standby for the hardest levels and emergency situations: an [ eight on toe wheeling alternating back, front, inside and outside curves ] (see video Semi-Final #2 at 4’37). Romain Lebois is less creative and lacks sevens but his steadiness pays off: He leaves Alexandre Claris and Michal Sulinowski at the threshold of the final.

Men’s Consolation Final

Men’s Consolation Final by Frozwheels

Men’s Consolation Final by

The consolation final is made of Europeans Alexandre Claris and Michal Sulinowski, and of Asians Yu Jin Seong and Li Yu Chen. It is a fight of freestyle cultures. And time is short as they only have two runs and one last trick! Li Yu Chen kicks lots of cones and has a couple of misplays, but he manages a big last trick with a [ toe shift ] covering the 120s and twice the 80s (14+20+20). Yu Jin Seong is quite the opposite: he makes a very good start with an effective combo during his first run [ 20-cone heel shift + transfer on the 50s for a 16-cone back heel wheeling ], does quite a varied second run… and repeats himself in his last trick with a shift marathon… this lack of inspiration relegates him to the 4th place (8th at the final ranking) while Li Yu Chen takes the 3rd place. The two Europeans are in the lead. Alexandre Claris manages to take the advantage with a 30-sec combo on his first run [ toe shift back and forth on a dozen cones + 15-cone toe seven ] and keeps it, thanks to a varied second run (toe footgun, heel tricks, freestyle footwork) and an original last trick: a [ double seven on the 120s ]. Michal Sulinowski’s technical performance is roughly of the same level as Alexandre’s but he is quite shaky. He takes the 2nd place of the Consolation Final.

WFSC 2012 Slalom Battle Men Co-Final by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

Men’s Final

Men’s Final by Frozwheels

Men’s Final by

Men's Battle: quarter finalsRUN#1 – The final is very clean with all the skaters managing their runs with success. Romain Lebois opens the ball with a 100% success run and sets the tone with a [ 20-cone toe footgun on the 80s ] and a clean [ toe wheeling combo with sewing-machines on the 50s ]. But Ye Hao Qin sets the bar even higher with an insane [ toe christie + toe shift ]: he manages to get up from his Christie without tapping, change lines and complete the whole 80s with shift. He finishes his run with a visit on the 50s where he shows his speed and his footwork skills – as well as his capacity to make up for uncompleted tricks: his toe wiper or his sewing-machine do not last as long as expected? He fills up with clever freestyle.Skating after that alien is hard for Guo Fang whose run – although far from being ridiculous – leaves a poor impression compared to what just preceded, despite his [ toe shift + toe seven combo ] and his [ toe footgun ]. His tricks and combos do not last long enough… a feeling reinforced with the run of the next finalist, Zhang Hao, who answers back to the other competitors with a 30-sec combo [ toe footgun + toe shift + toe flip ]:  his footgun is not very low in order to be able to get up from it… and he completes the 80s twice, once with shift, and once with flip.

Ye Hao Qin and Zhang Hao take the lead after that first run thanks to their combos after their sitting tricks. Guo Fang is behind because his tricks are shorter than those of his opponents.

RUN#2 – French Romain Lebois is not letting things get him down and takes up challenges: to Zhang Hao, he shows that he can ‘flip’ too with a [ 10/10 toe reverse shift + flip ] and to Ye Hao Qin, he dedicates an attempt at [ toe Christie ]. The latter strikes back with a 30-sec display of mastery: On the toe, he alternates turns on each cone, outside front, outside back, inside front, inside back, etc. (see semi-final #2)Guo Fang, sandwiched between Ye Hao Qin and Zhang Hao, tries to catch up: energetic footwork, 10-cone toe wiper, 20-cone toe flip… But his ardour is immediately cooled down by Zhang Hao who not only challenges Romain in managing a [ 4-cone toe Christie ] but also challenges Ye Hao Qin in innovating too, with a toe trick conveying the feeling of a Barrel roll on one foot that moves forward on the line, cone by cone. That trick is part of a combo and is launched with a [ stop’n go from a toe stall, after a toe reverse shift ]!

On that second run, Ye Hao Qin and Zhang Hao outdistance their rivals with their mastery and their creativity, confirming the tendency of the first run. Guo Fang is left behind, while Romain Lebois holds on with impressively clean performances and a good feeling of gambling and reply.

RUN#3 – The advantage of taking the first place to go is that it gives you a great means of pressure. But the drawback is that you have no opportunity left to reply to your opponents’ attacks of the third run… With hindsight, the third run here was ‘seven time’… a trick that Romain Lebois hardly thought about doing: a small [ 2-cone back heel seven ] is obviously not enough. (NB: Let’s note that the French is the only finalist bothering with trying to show a little heel wheeling!) His rivals have a blast: a [ 15-cone toe seven ] for Ye Hao Qin and [ 17 for Zhang Hao (yet with a couple of cones down and a good misplay in the end) ] , and a [ full-speed 7-cone toe seven finishing with a spin ] for Guo Fang.

No reversal of situation for the third run, the four finalists keep their positions.

WFSC 2012 Slalom Battle Men Final by REKIL.RU from ReKiL on Vimeo.

LAST TRICK – After a small fright on a failed first try, Romain Lebois manages a great last trick on the 50s with almost 4 lines completed: [ 20 back toe wheeling to stop’n go + 10/10 back to front toe wheeling + 10/10 back to sewing-machine + 15-cone back toe wheeling ]. Ye Hao Qin explodes the applause meter with a [ 14-cone BACK toe Christie (!!) ], which is a pretty nice answer to Romain Lebois’s [ back toe footgun ] of the third run. Guo Fang goes for a classic [ toe shift on 1 line 1/2 ], while Zhang Hao goes further completing more than 2 lines with that same trick.

A very impressive final with replies and challenges taken up by all the opponents, leading to an escalation of technique. Toe wheeling is widely preferred to heel wheeling, and heel wheeling may be the key to make the difference in the future. Wheeling combos are becoming impressively long and mastered, which is getting more digest to watch.

Out of the first 8 skaters, three of them are European. The Chinese still rule over the world this year, but new challengers are rising and may reverse the order one day…

Results of the Men’s Battle

  1. Ye Hao Qin (CHN)
  2. Zhang Hao (CHN)
  3. Romain Lebois (FRA)
  4. Guo Fang (CHN)
  5. Alexandre Claris (FRA)
  6. Michal Sulinowski (POL)
  7. Li Yu Chen (CHN)
  8. Yu Jin Seong (KOR)


These 2012 World Freestyle Skating Championships end up only 3-hour late, which is a feat in itself. We were stronger than rain! After the final award ceremony, we were all invited to jump on our respected buses and were driven to the VIP hotel where a buffet was waiting for us. While eating, we could enjoy another special reward ceremony, thanking various skaters, coaches and organizers for diverse reasons and performances over the 2011 Season.

As for the Country medal ranking, China is far above, in a galaxy far far away… with a total of 20 medals reaped, including 8 gold:

  • Classic junior men (Zhang Hao) and women (Feng Hui) as well as senior women (Su Fei Qian)
  • Speed junior women (Lu Qian Qian) and senior men (Guo Fang)
  • Slides men (Dong Lei)
  • Battle men (Ye Hao Qin) and women (Su Fei Qian)
  • Korea and Russia are ‘just behind’ with 4 medals, including 2 gold for Korea: Classic men (Kim Sing Jin) and Classic Pair (Kim Sung Jin & Lee Choong Goon), and 1 gold for Russia with the women’s slide (Olga Fokina).

Chinese Taipei, Italy and France go back home with 3 medals each, Taipei and Italy with Speed Slalom gold medals: Speed junior men thanks to Wu Dong-Jiun for Taipei, and senior women thanks to Cristina Rotunno for Italy.

Iran and Poland have to content themselves with Bronze (just like France). Which is still pretty good as, out of the 24 countries taking part in the Championships, only these 8 mentioned countries collected medals.

The organization is trying to implement an alternation every year for the location of the World Championships. 2012 was in Asia, so we can hope that next year will be in Europe…