Canadians steal spotlight from Chinese lovebirds

Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:42pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - North America ruled on the first day of the world championships after Canadian pair Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford produced a flawless skate to steal the spotlight from Chinese stalwarts Pang Qing and Tong Jian on Wednesday.

With Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates setting the benchmark in the short dance, Asian celebrations were a little muted at the competition, which is being hosted in China for the first time.

Chinese lovebirds Pang and Tong, pairs world champions in 2006 and 2010, first competed together in 1996 when many of their current rivals were toddlers.

Now aged 35 and in their final competition, the engaged duo proved they were still capable of producing routines full of drama and intrigue as they were foot perfect with their triple toeloops and throw triple loop.

Their only blip was being slightly out of sync in their side-by-side spins.

They earned rapturous applause from the home fans with their "Moonflower" short skate but were deemed second best by the judges with a score of 72.59.

"We are glad that we nailed everything today and hope to keep it together tomorrow,” Tong told reporters. “We just wanted to give two good performances to the fans before we retire."

Duhamel and Radford were rewarded for their precise foot work and perfect synchronization with a personal best of 76.98.

  Continued...

 
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada compete in the pairs short program during the ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Shanghai March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria