(October 17, 2009 - ISTANBUL, Turkey) – Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, both of Barrie, Ont., placed fifth in ice dancing on Saturday to conclude the seventh stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin of Russia won the gold medal with 173.15 points for their second victory this season on the circuit.  Their compatriots Ekaterina Pushkash and Jonathan Guerreiro were second at 155.75 and Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello of Italy third at 153.77.

Paul and Islam posted the fourth best free dance with a personal best 72.78 score to place fifth overall at 149.04.  Carolyn MacCuish of Burlington, Ont., and Tyler Morris of Woodstock, Ont., were 11th.

“We’ve trained really hard this season and it’s paying off,” said Islam.  “We came into the free dance with a nothing to lose attitude and skated it as well as we could have.  It’s onward and upwards from here.”

MacCuish and Morris only joined forces this past February and are pleased with their progress.

“We are very happy with how we skated,” said MacCuish.  “This season we’ve worked a lot on our connection with each other throughout our program and that was really good today. We really stepped up and performed well.”

In men’s singles, Han Yan of China took the gold with Stanislav Kovalev of Russia second and Kento Nakamura of Japan third.

Liam Firus of North Vancouver, B.C., posted the fifth best long program landing five triple jumps to rocket from 13th to seventh overall.

“It the kind of performance I needed,” said Firus, 17, sixth earlier this season at a Junior Grand Prix in Belarus.  “I gained a lot of confidence for my long program in training and I knew I could do it well.”

On Friday, Vanessa Grenier of Sherbrooke, Que., placed fifth in women’s singles.

The Junior Grand Prix final is December 3-6 in Tokyo.

For more information visit: www.isu.org

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