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Figure Skating: Dan, Hao Capture Pairs Gold at NHK Trophy Competition in Osaka

China's world bronze medallists Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao have captured the pairs figure skating gold medal at the NHK Trophy competition in Osaka, Japan.

The Chinese duo, who had been second after the short program Thursday, performed best in Friday's free program and defeated overnight leaders Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany by less than one point (171.46 to 170.84).

Well back in third place were Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sebastien Fecteau of Canada (138.62 points).

It was Zhang and Zhang's second title of the season after winning the Skate America in October.

Italian Carolina Kostner took a narrow lead in the women's short program over Japan's Yukari Nakano (58.64 to 56.22 points). Kimmie Meissner of the United States was third (56.10).

Kostner will carry the Italian flag in her home country at next year's Turin Winter Olympics. She is a second-cousin of Italian downhill skier Isolde Kostner, who carried the flag at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.