World Figure Skating Championship: Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford clinch pairs gold
Canada`s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the world pairs title in Shanghai Thursday, after claiming bronze at the competition in the last two years.
Shanghai: Canada`s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the world pairs title in Shanghai Thursday, after claiming bronze at the competition in the last two years.
The pair scored 144.55 in the free skate to finish with 221.53 overall at the world championships and remain undefeated this season after clinching the Grand Prix Finals in December and Four Continents last month.
The pre-tournament favourites finished ahead of Chinese pairs Sui Wenjing and Han Cong (214.12) and Pang Qing and Tong Jian (212.77) in the overall standings.
The trio also topped the free skate, but Duhamel and Radford failed to match their flawless performance in the short program Wednesday which saw them open up a huge four point gap over their rivals.
Radford touched the floor as she came out of an ambitious throw quad Salchow and the pair were not synchronised during the following combination spin.
But they were deserved winners overall, and will be especially pleased with the consistency that they have carried into the championships.
Their victory followed a breathtaking performance from women`s singles European title holder Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who recorded the third highest ladies short programme score in history to take a commanding lead in her bid for glory.
The Russian dazzled the crowd to the rousing music of Maurice Ravel`s "Bolero", opening with a triple axel before dancing impeccably to move easily into first position in the tournament with a score of 77.62.
The 18-year-old was the only contestant in Shanghai to attempt a triple axel in the short programme, and her score puts her behind Japan`s Mao Asada (78.66) and South Korean legend Kim Yu-Na (78.50) in the all-time rankings.
Asada, who has taken the season off, recorded her score at last season`s world championships.
Tuktamysheva punched the air with delight after her performance, and will go into Friday`s free skate final as the clear favourite.
Her triple axel makes her one of only a select few women athletes to attempt what is considered the most risky of jumps.
Tuktamysheva said she has been practising the jump since January, and believed that producing the move in competition would make her a better athlete.
"It was very difficult... but it is very important for us to reinvent ourselves and constantly make breakthroughs," she said.
"Of course I am aware of the risks. There is a 50 percent chance I would fall. But still I think we need to take as many risks as the male athletes do so that in the future we can achieve more elements."
Tuktamysheva, however, decided not to attempt another triple axel in the free skate, saying she would add other elements instead.
"Of course, I will be less energetic than at the beginning of the championships, but I still believe these new elements could bring me excellent scores," she said.
The teen star also nailed a triple lutz and a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination during an incredible performance which she concluded with a rapid combination spin which drew the crowd to their feet.
In second place was compatriot Elena Radionova with a score of 69.51. Radionova was edged by Tuktamysheva into the runners-up spot at both the European championships and the Grand Prix Final.
The Russian team was hoping for a clean sweep of the podium, after achieving that feat at the European championships, but Anna Pogorilaya fell as she attempted a triple loop and finished in ninth.
Japanese national champion Satako Miyahara finished in third place on 67.02. Behind her were compatriots Kanako Murakami and Rika Hongo, while China`s Li Zijun finished in sixth ahead of Americans Polina Edmunds and Gracie Gold.