December 07, 2018 09:55
Figure skaters Cha Jun-hwan and Kim Ye-lim will compete at the International Skating Union Grand Prix Final in Vancouver, Canada this week.
Cha will compete in the men's singles event starting Thursday. At 17, he is the youngest competitor among the male skaters participating in the event, and 14 years younger than the oldest competitor, Sergei Voronov of Russia. Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan withdrew from the event due to an injury. Nathan Chen of the U.S. and Shoma Uno of Japan are favorites for the two top spots, but the bronze medal is considered up for grabs.
"I know there are high expectations," Cha said. "It depends on my form on the day of competition, but if I can skate as well as I did in practice, maybe I can aim for a medal."
It is Cha's third competition of the season in Canada. "It's my first time in Vancouver, but I'm familiar with Canada. I feel as comfortable as if I were at home," he said.
Meanwhile, Kim, as the only non-Russian, stood out among the six skaters at junior girls' practice on Wednesday. "I felt lonely in the locker room because there was nobody I could talk to, but competing alongside Cha puts me at ease," Kim said.
Alexandra Trusova is favored to win with her signature quadruple jumps, but the other five competitors are at a similar level and Kim may have a chance at a medal.
Cha and Kim will skate in the short program on Thursday.
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