(September 12, 2009 - TORUN, Poland) – Thirteen-year-old Brittany Jones of Toronto and Kurtis Gaskell of Guelph, Ont., completed their international debut with a bronze medal in pairs on Saturday at the third stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Jones and Gaskell, the Canadian junior champions, were in fifth place after Thursday’s short program but posted the third best long program of the day to gain a podium berth. Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan took the gold at 150.03.
Tatiana Novik and Mikhail Kuznetsov of Russia were second at 149.04 and Jones and Gaskell followed at 129.45. New pairs team Taylor Steele of Strathroy, Ont., and Robert Schultz of Puslinch, Ont., third after the short, were fifth and Margaret Purdy of Strathroy and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were seventh.
In ice dancing, the new tandem of Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Aslam, both of Barrie, Ont., missed the podium by a mere 0.46 points. Russian teams were 1-2 with Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov winning the gold with 171.61 points and Marina Antipova and Artem Kudashev the silver with 148.03.
Isabelle Cannuscio and Ian Lorello of the U.S., snared the bronze with 145.59 while Paul and Aslam, third after the original dance, totalled 145.13.
“There were no huge errors for Alexandra and Mitchell,” said Canadian team manager Louis Stong. “The couples ahead of them had cleaner performances. Still it was a very good first outing together.”
Véronique de Beaumont-Boisvert and Sébastien Buron, both of Ste-Julie, Que., were seventh. They were assessed a costly penalty for an illegal lift.
“They have a very unusual lift and Sébastien brought his hands over his head and lifted her too high,’’ said Stong. ‘’They received no points for the manoeuvre and were given a penalty on top of that. It’s too bad because they gave an outstanding performance.’’
In men’s singles, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan won the gold medal, Austin Kanallakan of the U.S., was second and Gordei Gorshkov of Russia was third. Ronald Lam of Coquitlam, B.C., took fifth spot his best ever result on the Junior Grand Prix circuit.
‘’I had two relatively good skates (short program on Friday and Saturday’s long),’’ said Lam, 18, in his third season on the circuit. ‘’I started off my long program really well landing the triple loop, triple Lutz and double-double combination. And I finished well too. I just have to keep plugging away at those programs and get rid of the mistakes.’’
On Friday, Canadian junior champion Kate Charbonneau of Winnipeg finished eighth overall in women’s singles after standing 15th after the short program.
‘’I was extremely nervous in the short program and I let that get the better of me,’’ said Charbonneau. ‘’The long program just felt a lot easier for at the emotional level. It was still a frustrating skate though because it wasn’t what I wanted.’’
The next stop on the circuit is in two weeks in Minsk, Belarus.
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