SAITAMA, Japan – Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are only 0.5 points from top spot after the short dance on Friday at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy are first at 69.70, Weaver and Poje follow at 69.20 and Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France are third at 68.20.
“This is definitely where we want to be,” said Poje. “We are in the attacking position of the top spot. We feel that we’ve put great work into this season and we want to end on a high note and put out two solid performances.”
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto are 10th and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., 11th.
It was a 1-2 finish for Japan in men’s competition with Yuzuru Hanyu earning the gold medal with 282.59 points and Tatsuki Machida the silver at 282.26. Javier Fernandez of Spain was third at 275.93.
The Canadian men were much better in the free skate. Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., climbed from 15th to 11th, world junior champion Nam Nguyen of Toronto from 16th to 12th and Elladj Balde of Pierrefonds, Que., from 22nd to 17th.
“I was able to stay on my feet throughout the jumps, and that really helped because there weren’t so many major disruptions in the program,” said Reynolds, who ranked 10th for the free skate. “The whole season was a giant learning experience, and I can take from that knowing I can still skate my best even though I’m not feeling even close to where I’d like to be.”
Nguyen executed a triple Axel triple-triple toe combo for the first time in a competitive program.
“This week my Axels weren’t on, so I was really worried,” said Nguyen, who ranked ninth for the free skate. “As I approached the first Axel, the adrenaline started building up and I went for it. It was amazing.”
Competition ends Saturday with the free dance and women’s free skate.