SEOUL – Recently crowned Grand Prix champions Meaghan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are in first place after the pairs short program on Thursday at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.
Duhamel and Radford, bronze medallists at the last two world championships, totalled a season’s best 75.67 points to place ahead of three Chinese pairs. Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang are second at 69.81 and Wenjing Sui and Cong Han third at 69.19. The Canadian also earned their best ever artistic scores internationally for their short program.
"We are really proud of our skate today, it’s an indication of how we train at home," said Duhamel. "We weren’t 100 percent comfortable at the start but when the music started our training and muscle memory kicked-in. Our artistic score is something we are always striving to improve upon. The best feeling is when you can keep improving as the season goes on. A good long program here will set us up well for the world championships."
Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto are sixth at 60.13 and Kirsten-Moore Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., seventh at 59.30.
The standings are tight in ice dancing after the short dance. American couples stand 1-2 with Madison Chock and Evan Bates first at 70.38 and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani second at 69.65.
Three Canadian couples follow: Grand Prix champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are third at 68.31, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto fourth at 63.45 and Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., fifth at 61.34.
"We felt great heading into the performance," said Weaver. "We skated really well. We felt it was our best this season in terms of our interpretation and performance quality but the execution of the levels were not up to par. We’re not worried about our position and feel very confident with our free dance for tomorrow."
After the short program in men’s competition, Jeremy Ten of Vancouver is eighth, Liam Firus of North Vancouver 11th and Nam Nguyen of Toronto14th.
Competition continues Friday with the free dance and women’s short program.
Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/fc2015/index.htm