Duhamel and Radford withdraw, Osmond climbs to sixth

TAIPEI CITY, Taipei – Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto placed fifth in pairs while world champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., withdrew on Saturday at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition.

In pairs, Duhamel skated in Thursday’s short program despite the stomach flu but she wasn’t able to compete on Saturday. The couple were second heading into the free skate.

“Meagan tried to do the practice this morning but it wasn’t going to happen,” said Radford. “I think at this point it’s just not worth it to push ourselves and risk any sort of injury before the world championships. It’s time to recuperate and build towards Boston.”

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China won the gold medal with 221.91 points, Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the U.S. were second at 207.96 and Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China were third at 187.33.

Ilyushechkina and Moscovitch took fifth spot and Vanessa Grenier of Johnville, Que., and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., were 10th.

Ilyushechkina and Moscovitch, in their second season together, executed solid throws and lifts but struggled with their side-by-side jumps.

‘’There were some big improvements particularly in the triple twist throw and we are pleased to get a level three internationally with that,’’ said Ilyushechkina. ‘’Still there were mistakes we shouldn’t make.’’

Moscovitch says the pair is on the right track.

‘’Since the Canadian championships (in January) we’ve improved a lot,’’ he said. ‘’Our training and preparation coming into this event is the strongest we’ve been skating since we’ve come together as a team.’’

In women’s competition, Satoko Miyahara of Japan won the gold medal.  Mirai Nagasu of the U.S. was second and Rika Hongo of Japan third.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., produced a clean skate for the fourth best long program to climb from 11th after the short program to sixth overall. Osmond missed all of last season with a broken leg.

‘’I’m happy with it except for not completing my two big combos,’’ she said. ‘’Still it was technically a clean program and that’s something I’ve been wanting to do all year.

‘’It’s a great way to end my season.’’

Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., was 11th and Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., 14th.

Competition ends Sunday with the men’s free skate. Canada’s Patrick Chan is fifth after Friday’s short program.