HIGHLIGHTS: Chen storms to win at Skate Canada; five golds for Dina Averina at Rhythmic Worlds; first Short Track win for U.S.’s Santos

Five-time U.S. National Champion Nathan Chen (Photo: ISU)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

● Badminton ● Japan and Korea split the five titles at the Yonex French Open that concluded on Sunday.

Japan swept the singles finals, with Kanta Tsuneyama defeating Tien Chen Chou (KOR) by 15-21, 21-8, 21-17 in the men’s final, and Akane Yamaguchi defeating countrywoman Sayaka Takahashi, 21-18, 21-12, in the women’s final.

Koreans won the men’s and women’s doubles: Sung Hyun Ko and Baekcheol Shin won in straight sets from Indonesia’s stars Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo, 21-17, 22-20, and Sohee Lee and Seungchan Shin took the women’s title with a 21-17, 21-12 win over fellow Koreans Soyeong Kim and Yeeyong Kong.

Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino had little trouble with Danes Mathias Christiansen and Alexandra Bjoe for the Mixed Doubles title.

● Curling ● USA Curling’s Olympic Trials for the Mixed Doubles Curling will conclude this evening at 8 p.m. Eastern time in Eveleth, Minnesota with the final between top-seed Chris Plys and Vicky Persinger and Jamie Sinclair and Rich Ruohonen. The match will be televised on NBCSN.

In the round-robin competition, Plys/Persinger compiled the best record at 6-3, followed by Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin (also 6-3, but lost to Plys/Persinger). In the Page system playoffs, Persinger/Plys managed an 8-4 win in the 1 vs. 2 semifinal to advance to the final over Anderson/Dropkin.

Sinclair/Ruohonen defeated Tabitha Peterson/Joe Polo, 6-5, in the 3 vs. 4 semi to get to the semi against Anderson/Dropkin for the right to get to the final. That match went to Sinclair and Ruohonen by a 9-7 final.

The Trials winner does not qualify for Beijing 2022, but must try to qualify at the World Curling Federation’s final qualifier in December.

● Cycling ● The final week of the UCI BMX SuperCross World Cup was also the second consecutive week of racing in Sakarya (TUR), with seasonal titles on the line.

Colombia swept the first four places in Saturday’s men’s race, with Diego Arboleda winning at 33.324, followed by Vincent Pelluard (33.894), Carlos Ramirez (33.550) and Mateo Carmona (34.679). On Sunday, Swiss Simon Marquardt won his second World Cup race of the season, ahead of Arboleda, 33.671-34.046.

The women’s medal winners were the same – and in the same places – for both races. Dutch star Laura Smulders won both, followed by American Felicia Stancil and Colombian star Mariana Pajon. Smulders won by 37.800-37.968 on Saturday and 37.752-37.846 on Sunday.

The seasonal victories went to Marquardt over Carlos Ramirez on the men’s side and Pajon over Smulders and Stancil for the women.

● Figure Skating ● American Nathan Chen rebounded from a disappointing performance at Skate America to hit four quad jumps and pile up 307.18 points to win his eighth ISU Grand Prix at the Skate Canada International in Vancouver, B.C.

Said the winner: “I definitely did have better outings here than I did in Skate America, so I think this is a good step forward. In all the competitions I want to push myself a little bit forward. The programs weren’t perfect but overall I’m happy with where I am this season.”

Chen led the Short Program with 106.72 points, way ahead of the field with American Jason Brown second (94.00). Chen won the Free Skate with 200.46 points, with Russian Evgeni Semenenko (168.30) next. Chen’s overall score was 307.17, with Brown finishing second (259.55) and Semenenko third (256.01).

Russia swept the women’s competition, with Kamila Valieva taking both the Short Program and Free Skate and compiling 265.08 points. She was followed by Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (232.88) and Alena Kostornaia (214.54). Japan’s Mai Mihara was fourth (210.01) and Alysia Liu of the U.S. finished fifth (206.53).

Two-time World Pairs Champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han also won easily, scoring 224.05 over Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin (RUS: 193.08) and Americans Ashley Cain-Gibble and Timothy Leduc (189.90).

Home fans cheered Canada’s win in Ice Dance with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, who scored 210.97 to win against Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (200.05) and Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz (ESP: 192.93). Americans Caroline Green and Michael Parsons were fourth (186.51).

The Grand Prix moves to Europe now, with the Gran Premio d’Italia next week in Turin.

● Gymnastics ● Russia’s Dina Averina dominated the FIG Rhythmic World Championships in Kitakyushu (JPN), winning five events and a silver in a sixth.

Averina was controversially upset in the All-Around at the Tokyo Games by Israel’s Linoy Ashram, but starred at the Worlds, which Ashram skipped. Averina won the All-Around over Bulgaria’s Alina Harnasko and sister Arina Averina, 108.400-105.300-103.200, then won the Hoop, Ball and Clubs title, plus a silver in Ribbon.

Arina Averina won silvers in Ball and Clubs and took the bronze in Ribbon. Harnasko took silver in Hoop and bronze in Ball. Those three won 13 of the 15 individual medals available.

The Averinas also won the two-woman Team-All-Around and Russia took the five-woman Group All-Around. In the Group finals, Russia won the 5 Balls and Italy took the 3 Hoops + 4 Clubs.

For Dina Averina, still just 23, she now owns a stunning 18 Worlds golds from 2017-21! Wow!

● Short Track ● American Kristen Santos will celebrate her 27th birthday on Tuesday and she got an early birthday present in Nagoya (JPN), with her first-ever ISU World Cup victory in the women’s 1,000 m.

Santos announced her presence on the tour with two bronzes at the season-opening Beijing World Cup, but stepped up to the top of the podium with a 1:30.013-1:30.077 win over Dutch star Suzanne Schulting, the 2018 Olympic champion!

Schulting came back to win the 1,500 m by 2:25:230-2:25.313 over Italy’s Arianna Fontana (with Santos fourth: 2:25.456), and Fontana – the 2018 Olympic winner at 500 m – winning the 500 m sprint by 43.593-43.780 against Pole Natalia Maliszewska.

The men’s racing saw Korea’s Daeheon Hwang take the 500 m gold over China’s Ziwei Ren, then Ren winning the 1,000 m (American Brandon Kim was fourth), and Hwang taking the silver to Italian Yuri Confortola.

The World Cup tour has some time off now, with the third leg scheduled at Debrecen (HUN) starting on 18 November.

● Swimming ● Japan’s four-time World Champion Daiya Seto won four events to highlight the final FINA World Cup of 2021, held in Kazan (RUS).

Seto won all three Medley events at 100-200-400 m, to go along with a win in the 200 m Breaststroke for four golds, the most in the meet. Two women won three: Dutch star Kira Toussaint in the 50-100-200 m Backstroke events and Australian star Emma McKeon in the 50-100 m Freestyles and the 50-100 m Butterflys.

McKeon won the women’s overall points race and a $100,000 bonus, while South Africa’s Matthew Sates – winner of the 200-400 m Frees and medalist in the 100 and 200 m Medleys – won the men’s points race.

The individual highlight was the world short-course (25 m pool) record in the men’s 100 m Free, with Australian’s 2016 Rio gold medal winner Kyle Chalmers timing 44.84 to remove the 13-year-old mark of 44.94 by France’s Amaury Leveaux! Chalmers also won the men’s 50 m Free.

Two-event winners also included American Tom Shields in the men’s 100-200 m Fly, Swiss Maria Ugolkova in the women’s 100-200 m Medleys, Hungary’s Zsusanna Jakabos in the women’s 200 m Fly and 400 m Medley and Australia’s Leah Neale in the women’s 400-800 m Freestyles.

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