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Figure skating

Megan Duhamel, Eric Radford capture pairs title at Canadian figure skating championships

By Steve Buffery, Toronto Sun

Canadian pairs team Eric Radford and Megan Duhamel. (Ian MacAlpine, QMI Agency)

Canadian pairs team Eric Radford and Megan Duhamel. (Ian MacAlpine, QMI Agency)

KINGSTON, ONT. - 

Canada will be sending three quality but very different pairs teams to the world figure skating championships this March in Shanghai, China.

The Montreal-based team of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the Canadian title on Saturday at Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre with a record overall score of 230.19 and will be going to Shanghai as favourites to win the gold medal.

The second-place team from Saturday’s final, Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of the Toronto Cricket Club, will be out to prove that though they are new together, they’re already a solid team at the international level. Iliushechkina originally competed for Russia and was matched up with Moscovitch this summer after he broke up with his former partner Kirsten Moore-Towers, who finished fourth with her new partner Michael Marinaro.

And the third-place finishers, Quebec’s Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau, reigning junior Grand Prix Final champs, are going to China basically to skate well and learn from the experience for future world championships.

Duhamel and Radford have enjoyed a breakout season this year, winning two Grand Prix events as well as the Grand Prix final in Barcelona and if Saturday’s freeskate at Kingston’s K-Rock Centre is any indication, a world title is within their grasp. Though national scores aren’t considered official marks as they are earned on home soil and scored by home judges, the Montreal pair’s scores at these nationals exceeded their best marks in the short and long programs and overall score. Duhamel and Radford were awarded a score of 79.50 for their short program on Friday and a mark of 150.69 for their freeskate, for an overall total of 230.19. Their best marks on the international level are: 77.01, 146.22 and 220.72.

“On Friday (after the short), we sat in the kiss ‘n’ cry and were like, ‘Are we going to get 80?’ And (coach) Richard (Gauthier) was going, ‘80, 80, please.’ And then we were so close. And then when we sat down (after the freeskate) I said, ‘I hope it’s 150. And he said, I hope it’s 151,” said Duhamel, a native of Boucherville, Que.

Duhamel said their goal at these nationals was to earn a score of 150 in the free.

“(We thought) that would be so crazy, it’s impossible, we’ll never do it,” she added. “And now we have. But with room to grow (and) for worlds we’ll be aiming higher than 150.

“We always have a little bit of an idea of where our scores could be,” added Radford, who hails from tiny Balmertown in northwestern Ontario. “But we don’t concentrate on that specific aspect as much as we used to. When we have a good skate we kind of expect a good number.”

Another Canadian team that could win gold at the worlds is the ice dance duo of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo who finished first after Saturday’s freedance with a total score of 187.88. Weaver and Poje earned a freedance score of 111.62 performing to The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. Second were Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of the Scarboro Figure Skating club (174.70), earning a freedance mark of 104.67, skated to A Streetcar Named Desire and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, representing the Barrie Skating Club, were third (160.67), scoring 95.80 in their free. All three dance teams will be going to the worlds.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca


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