(March 22, 2004)
Canada’s Emanuel Sandhu is off to a great start at the 2004 International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships.
The 23-year-old Sandhu, of Richmond Hill, Ont., put down a strong performance in his qualifying group that placed him first in qualifying group B, ahead of 2004 European Champion Brian Joubert, of France.
Sandhu had an excellent opening to his performance with a quadruple toe loop-double toe loop combination. Although he missed his next jump, the triple Axel, Sandhu refocused to complete an outstanding triple loop and a triple Lutz out of footwork. He finished his performance with two exclamation points – a triple Axel-triple toe loop combination and a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, followed up by a strong triple Salchow.
The spins and footwork in Sandhu’s performance were also impressive.
The judges rewarded Sandhu for his performance with technical merit marks ranging from 5.5 to 5.7 and presentation marks ranging from 5.5 to 5.8.
“I’m more than proud of this program,” said Sandhu. “Now I’m in first position and am very happy with that.”
Finishing third in the B qualifying group was Stephane Lambiel, of Switzerland.
Edmonton’s Ben Ferreira, who is returning to the World Championships after his last appearance at the event in 2002, also delivered a strong performance.
Ferreira, 24, who skated in the same qualifying group as Sandhu, opened his program with a solid triple Axel-double toe loop combination. He turned a scheduled quadruple toe loop into a triple, but continued on to skate a clean performance that included a triple flip, triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, triple Axel, triple loop, and a triple Salchow.
Ferreira’s technical merit marks ranged from 4.8 to 5.2 and his presentation marks ranged from 4.7 to 5.3, which placed him ninth in qualifying group B.
Placing first in qualifying group A was 2003 World Champion Evgeni Plushenko, of Russia. The 21-year-old received a row of 5.8s and one 5.9 for technical merit and seven 5.9s for presentation.
Plushenko’s teammate, Ilia Klimkin, finished in second-place, and placing third was Stefan Lindemann, of Germany.
Qualifying counts for 20 per cent of the final results, with Tuesday’s short program worth 30 per cent and Thursday’s free skate worth 50 per cent.