2013 WFSC in Taipei, November 5-8
DAY 1 : Speed Slalom & Pair Classic Freestyle
Chloe Seyres for WorldSlalomSeries.com
The 7th WFSC were held in Taipei from November 5 to 8, 2013, at the second level of an arena which was also hosting the 58th Worlds of Artistic Skating at the first level.
The event lasted four days, with speed slalom and pair classic to start with on the first day, classic on the second day, battle on the third day, and slides on the morning of the fourth day in an outdoors park nearby. This edition gathered 127 skaters of 27 different nationalities, the most represented countries being Taipei (21), China (17), Russia (14), Italy (8), Hong Kong, Iran, Korea and Singapore (7), France (6)...
PRESENTATION VIDEO OF THE 7th WFSC by FrozWheels:
The OPENING DAY of the Taipei World Championships was dedicated to SPEED SLALOM and finished with an introduction to classic with the PAIR FREESTYLE competition. The speed qualifications of all categories took place in the morning and the KO Systems followed in the afternoon.
JUNIOR WOMEN'S SPEED SLALOM
There are only 13 girls and the final phase directly started with semi-finals. The four qualified skaters are under the 5.1's, penalties included, for the qualifications (free start). They have nothing to be jealous of their elders in terms of qualification times, as well as in KO times as most of the rounds are played in the 5.7's.
After having respectively knocked out LAYA ARABI (IRI, #165) and HUANG CAI-JHU (TPE, #39), Taipeian LO PEI-YU (TPE, #142) and SU YU JOU (TPE, #147) meet in FINAL. The latter signs the best time of the KOs with a first run in 5.571, a short head in front of her opponent's 5.606. She confirms her superiority in the second run and gets the Gold.
In CONSOLATION FINAL, the Iranian seals the fate of the Taiwanese with two clean runs in the 5.7's, offering the Bronze to her country.
JR WOMEN SPEED TOP-4:
- Su Yu Jou (TPE)
- Lo Pei-Yu (TPE)
- Laya Arabi (IRI)
- Huang Cai-Jhu (TPE)
JUNIOR MEN'S SPEED SLALOM
Chinese PAN YU SHUO (CHN, #113) wins a well-deserved 2013 Junior Men's Champion title. First of the QUALIFICATIONS with the best time of all categories (4.449 – better than the best senior men's time 4.471), more than 2 tenths faster than YE HAO QIN (CHN, #43), the 2nd qualified skater. The latter is knocked out in SEMI-FINAL by future finalist ANSON CHAN MAN FUNG (HKG, #60) from Hong Kong, with two runs in the 5.2's.
The FINAL is quite unusual: PAN YU SHUO wins the first run after two false starts by his opponent, and the second run with a visible lead and no penalties (against 2). The timer did not stop and the decision was made to grant him the run... that is to say, the victory and the title.
Let's mention the hardcore QUARTER FINAL group opposing MA PAK HONK (HKG, #58) to LORENZO GUSLANDI (ITA, #20) with 3 runs in the 5.2's, won by the Italian, the only European of the group. The latter meets the future winner in semi-final and is no match: a two-run fight with no penalties, highlighting the speed supremacy of the Chinese (5.044 and 5.119 vs. 5.246 and 5.252).
The CO-FINAL is played in the 5.2's and is won by YE HAO QIN who speeds up to get in the 5.1's at the third run, leaving L.GUSLANDI at the foot of the podium.
JR MEN'S SPEED TOP-4:
- Pan Yu Shuo (CHN)
- Anson Chan Man Fung (HKG)
- Ye Hao Qin (CHN)
- Lorenzo Guslandi (ITA)
JR M SPEED FINAL: Pan Yu Shuo (CHN) Vs. Anson Chan Man Fung (HKG)
SENIOR WOMEN'S SPEED SLALOM
Out of the 21 senior women registered for the QUALIFIERS, only 8 go through to the quarter finals of the KO Systems.
WANG TSU-CHIEN (TPE, #33) pips at the post the two Italian masters of the discipline, first at the qualifications with a time of 4.884, then at the KO systems, where she gets the Gold in beating current world leader BARBARA BOSSI (ITA, #1) in two runs at the FINAL: slower but cleaner than the Italian, who may skate under the 5.4 but who regularly gets first cone penalties.
Her team mate CRISTINA ROTUNNO (ITA, #2) is also defeated in two runs by another local skater, LIAN HSUAN MING (TPE, #24), during the CO-FINAL: the group is skated in the 5.5's, and one run is all the Taiwanese girl needs to overcome the Italian, who is disqualified on her second run.
SR WOMEN'S TOP-4:
- Wang Tsu-Chien (TPE)
- Barbara Bossi (ITA)
- Lian Hsuan Ming (TPE)
- Cristina Rotunno (ITA)
SR W SPEED FINAL: Wang Tsu-Chien (TPE) Vs. Barbara Bossi (ITA)
SENIOR MEN'S SPEED SLALOM
QUALIFIERS. The senior men are 49 and the 16 best qualification times are selected for the eighths finals of the KO systems. Iran secures two places in the final phase, especially with FARBOD MOTEVASEL (IRI, #72) who had created a stir at Lishui last year in getting the Bronze in the junior category (by the way, just like his female team mate in junior this year...) The Iranian takes the lead of the qualifiers with both his tries, the two fastest runs of the category (4.471 and 4.494 – free start) proving his running under the 4.5's had nothing to do with luck!
He beats the current world leader SIMONE NAI OLEARI (ITA, #1) who qualifies second with a best time of 4.553. His team mate SAVIO BRIVIO (ITA, #38) does the fastest time of the Worlds with 4.355, but is relegated to the 4th qualifying place for a cone penalty. Top-10 YU JIN SEONG (KOR, #5) and ANDREY SHITOV (RUS, #8), respectively 18th and 20th of the qualifications, do not make it through: you had to be under the 5.0's to get a chance.
EIGHTHS FINALS. Some of the Eighth Final groups are already very entertaining. The clean and reactive fight between GUO FANG (CHN, #2) and TIZIANO FERRARI (ITA, #11) is worth being mentioned: The Italian is so nervous that he loses the first run for two false starts. That misstep seems to help him re-focus and he steals the second run with less than a 0.03 lead (5.356 vs. 5.384)... to finally lose it by a whisker on the third run.
GUO FANG goes on his way in beating the leader of the qualifiers FARBOD MOTEVASEL in QUARTER-FINALS after a three-run fight in the 5.1's (!) The latter is avenged by his team mate MOHAMMAD MONSEF (IRI, NR) who gets rid of SAVIO BRIVIO in the following group. Slower but cleaner. The two other quarter-final groups are just as insane. WU DONG-YAN (TPE, #78) gets rid of LAN WANG HENG (CHN, #7) after three runs in the 5.2's. But the peak of the round is the prematurate final in Group 3, gathering World No.1 SIMONE NAI OLEARI and soon-to-be 2013 world champion DAVIDE PIACENTINI (ITA, #144) who gets his ticket to the semi-finals in only two runs (5.018 vs. 5.069 / 4.984 vs. 5.052 with +1 penalty each).
SEMI-FINALS. GUO FANG and DAVIDE PIACENTINI need three runs to kick out their respective semi-final opponents, MOHAMMAD MONSEF and WU DONG YAN, in order to meet in FINAL. A breathtaking show : the Italian has a slight speed advantage, being ahead at each run. But a cone penalty turns in favor of the Chinese who secures the first run. Davide ties with a 4.993 second run (v. 5.118) to finally win hands up on the third run in 5.52 (vs. 5.250 +2 penalties for Guo Fang).
SR MEN'S SPEED TOP-8:
- Davide Piacentini (ITA)
- Guo Fang (CHN)
- Wu Dong Yan (TPE)
- Mohammad Monsef (IRI)
- Farbod Motevasel (IRI)
- Simone Nai Oleari (ITA)
- Lan Wang Heng (CHN)
- Savio Brivio (ITA)
A speed competition with a very high level and successful performances, with an average time that keeps on getting faster each year.
The local skaters offer 2 gold medals to Taipei (jr and sr women's), China gets the first Gold of a long list (jr men's) and the Italians prove that their reign is not to be about to stop with two medals (sr men's gold and sr women's silver), three Italian skaters in the sr men's top 8 and two in the sr women's top 4.
Iran outbids its feat of last year, with another bronze in a junior category, as well as two sr men at the foot of the podium, officially upgrading the nation's status from promising to dangerous.
Let's mention that 2013 is the first world championship edition ever where the French do not appear on any step of a speed slalom podium...
PAIR CLASSIC FREESTYLE
The day goes on with the Pair Classic Freestyle competition, an overview of what is coming on the next two days.
The category was made of 10 pairs from 7 different countries. It is won by Chinese pair GUO FANG / ZHANG HAO with a higher technical performance and precise footwork. A clean and mastered program which unanimously deserves the world title.
PAIR CLASSIC CHAMPIONS: Guo Fang & Zhang Hao (CHN)
On the other hand, the ranking of places 2 to 5 is more disputable. Let's remind that rankings are the sum of the individual rankings of each judge. This time, the judges' rankings had some variations, and the sum of their results gave a neutral mathematical result.
The main judging difficulty was to apprehend the uneven composition of each of those pairs, made of one stronger and one weaker performer, especially as for music expression.
The two remaining steps of the podium go to Polish KLAUDIA HARTMANIS / MICHAL SULINOWSKI, and to Italians TIZIANO FERRARI / LORENZO GUSLANDI.
Indeed they have a certain technical advantage as for wheeling variety and trick completion over the two Korean pairs relegated to places 4 and 5, respectively LEE CHOONG GOON / LEE JUNG HYUN and YU JIN SEONG / DO JI HWAN.
Yet the Koreans remain worth watching for their choreography, inventiveness and expressivity.
The LAN WANG HENG / YE HAO QIN pair was much awaited and had had the potential to claim a place in the top-3. Unfortunately, their performance lacks finishing and thus continuity because of unbalanced trick endings. They have to make do with the 6th place.
PAIR CLASSIC FREESTYLE RANKING:
- Guo Fang / Zhang Hao (CHN)
- Klaudia Hartmanis / Michal Sulinowski (POL)
- Tiziano Ferrari / Lorenzo Guslandi (ITA)
- Lee Choong Goon / Lee Jung Hyun (KOR)
- Yu Jin Seong / Do Ji Hwan (KOR)
- Lan Wang Heng / Ye Hao Qin (CHN)
- Lin Hsin-Chieh / Chui Yin-Hsuan (TPE)
- Tseng Miao / Hsieh Mu Lun (TPE)
- Terence Cheung / Jerome Hor Beng Hung (SIN)
- Anson Chan Man Fung / Ma Pak Hong (HKG)
The SECOND DAY will be entirely dedicated to CLASSIC FREESTYLE SLALOM, with the junior categories and the women's in the morning and the senior men's in the afternoon.
Chloe Seyres for WorldSlalomSeries.com