This week, Russia and Japan will crown it's National Champions for the 2009 season (I know, I know...it's still 2008...it's just how they do it.) Lots of talent will be competing in these events.
The Russian National Championships, which will be in Kazan, boasts some great competitors. Six solid mens competitors will vie for the title including reigning champion Sergei Voronov. Challenging him will be Andrei Lutai, Alexander Uspenski, Andrei Griazev, Artem Borodulin, and Sergei Dobrin. A fierce showdown is possible in Ice Dance between Domnina & Shabalin and Khoklova & Novitski. Khoklova & Novitski upset Domnina & Shabalin at Cup of Russia. Unfortunately we weren't able to see the rematch because Jana and Sergei withdrew due to stomach illness on Sergei's part. Should be interesting. In pairs, Kawaguchi & Smirnov will face off against Mukhortova & Trankov...both teams are coming off a dismal showing at the Grand Prix Final.
4078 miles away in Nagano, Japan, Japan's best take to the ice for the Japanese crown. The ladies event is chock full of competitors inclusing Mao Asada, Yukari Nakano, Miki Ando, Fumie Suguri, Akiko Suzuki, Nana Takeda, and others...talk about a deep field! However, the clear favorite is Mao Asada. Look for her (I'm gonna call trademark) double dosage of Triple Axels. All the others will be looking for the other podium finishes. A fun rivalry of sorts may possibly develop here. Both Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka have looked impressive this season, each winning a Grand Prix event and Takahiko winning the silver at the Grand Prix Final. It'll be fun to see how this plays out.
Russia's event begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday while Japan's event will begin December 25th and run through Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed for your favorite competitors!