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Gala program delights spectators

21 January 2007

The gala figure skating event at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, was a fitting farewell with a showcase of amazing talent.

After two days of intense competition, the gala program presented the top five skaters from the men’s and ladies’ groups, as well as an exhibition of some other Australian competitors.

Mark Webster from Australia was first up with his exhibition piece to the music of Will Smith's 'Boom Boom Shake Shake The Room' decked out in some 'gangster' clothing.

Yurina Nobuhara from Japan followed, and beautifully performed her interpretation of a song about a butterfly.

Matthew Parr from Great Britain was “feeling good” about his efforts at the AYOF and showed this to the spectators with his exhibition piece to the music of Michael Buble's song of the same name.

His team-mate Vanessa James was smiling throughout the whole competition and showcased her short program routine for the audience, winning everyone over one more time.

Japanese competitor Naoto Saito began his routine in the wrong direction and was laughed at by his team mates but it wasn't long before his program entitled 'art on ice' came to life at the Sydney Ice Arena.

A polka-dotted Nicholas Fernandez from Australia, who placed seventh overall in the competition, performed his exhibition piece which was thoroughly enjoyable.

Nanoha Sato from Japan showcased her short-program routine today in her bright pink costume, showing spectators why she was awarded second place.

Yukihiro Yoshida from Japan chose to perform his 'exciting tango' routine for the gala program today and was absolutely brilliant, even when he slipped to hit the edge of the rink.

His team mate Akio Sasaki followed with his short-program routine which was not only energetic but passionate.

Highest place Australian, Tina Wang performed her funky routine to the music of 'Car Wash' which was enthusiastically enjoyed by everyone at the Arena.

Gold medal winner of the AYOF from Japan, Yuka Ishikawa performed an exhibition routine also and showed what a truly beautiful and talent skater she is.

Junlin Guan from China was the gold recipient for the male's program scoring 161.37 and performed a very meaningful routine to John Mayer's 'Waiting On The World To Change'.

To top off a fantastic week of competition, ambassador for figure skating, Jo Carter performed a routine to the music of 'I Still Call Australia Home' which was met with great appreciation from the spectators, athletes and officials.

Carter is regarded as the Queen of the Ice in Australia having represented the nation at the 1998 and 2006 Winter Olympics and is currently the National Ladies Champion.

She thanked the spectators for coming out to support all the young skaters who thrive on this experience.

Caterina Polistina

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