Figure skater Choi Da-bin wins gold in women’s singles

SAPPORO, Japan -- Figure skater Choi Da-bin won gold in the women's singles at the Asian Winter Games on Saturday.   Choi scored 126.24 points to lead the free skate and finished with a total of 187.54 points at Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink. She won the short program Thursday with 61.30 points.   Choi is the first South Korean figure skater to win an Asian Games gold medal.   Both the free skate score and total points represent Choi's personal bests.   Li Zijun of China won silver with 175.60 points, with 116.95 points in the free skate.   Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan got the bronze with 175.04 points total. She had 121.88 points in the free skate.   Rika Hongo of Japan, who trailed Choi by only 0.32 point after the short program, committed three mistakes on her jumps en route to 100.39 points in free skate, only the fourth-highest score in the field. She ended in fourth overall with 161.37 points.   Japan failed to produce a medalist in the women's singles figure skating for the first time in the Asian Winter Games' history.   Choi was the last among 24 skaters to perform. To the sound track of the film "Doctor Zhivago," Choi executed a clean triple lutz-triple toe loop combination at the start.   She also nailed a triple flip and then pulled off a clean double axel-triple toe loop combination.   Following a solid spin and step sequence, Choi landed four consecutive jumps -- triple toe loop followed by a triple lutz-double toe loop-double loop combination.   Though she under-rotated her triple salchow, Choi didn't make any glaring mistake and enjoyed a comfortable victory.   Choi, 17, is on a roll this month. Last week, she finished fifth at the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in South Korea, while setting then-personal best scores in the short program (61.62), the free skate (116.92) and total points (182.41).   She only got into the Asian Winter Games as a last-minute injury replacement for Park So-youn, who withdrew with a broken ankle.   Earlier Saturday, Kim Su-yeon and Kim Hyung-tae finished fourth in the pairs with 149.40 points overall.   They had 49.28 points from the short program earlier in the week and then scored 100.12 points in Saturday's free skate.   Another South Korean pair, Kim Kyu-eun and Kam Kang-chan, finished fifth with 141.88 points.   The North Korean duo of Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik got the bronze with 177.40 points. It was North Korea's first medal in Sapporo.   Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao of China ran away with the gold with 223.88 points, nearly 27 points better than the silver medal pair, Peng Cheng and Jin Yang of China.     Source: Yonhap News Agency  

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