(September 11, 2009 - TORUN, Poland) – Kate Charbonneau of Winnipeg delivered a strong free program in women’s singles Friday to climb seven spots and finish eighth overall in her international debut at the third stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Meanwhile new Canadian tandems in pairs and ice dancing are on track for a medal.

In women’s singles, Kanako Murakami of Japan won the gold medal, Anna Ovcharova of Russia was second and Christian Gao of the U.S., third. While it was same top-three in Thursday’s short program, the rest of standings were jumbled after Friday’s final.

Charbonneau, the 16-year-old Canadian junior champion, made the biggest gain of the competition climbing from 15th spot after the short program to eighth overall. She delivered the sixth best long program landing two triple jumps and two double Axels.

“Her component marks were very good which means the judges really liked her,” said Canadian team manager Louis Stong. “This is the kind of performance we were expecting from her because she had been practicing beautifully here this week and was getting a lot of attention with her skating and program. This is her first Grand Prix and I think she was just very nervous in the short program.”

In ice dancing, new couple Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, both of Barrie, Ont., posted the second best score in Friday’s original dance to climb from fourth to third in the standings.

Russian couples are 1-2 with Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov leading at 89.05 points and Marina Antipova and Artem Kudashev second at 78.33. Paul and Islam have 76.75 while Véronique de Beaumont-Boisvert and Sébastien Buron, both of Ste-Julie, Que., are sixth at 68.11.

‘’Alexandra and Mitchell looked wonderful together,’’ said Stong. ‘’They have a bright future. Véronique and Sébastien are also doing very nicely. This is quite a strong field and to have our two teams in the top-six is very good.’’

Canada ’s three entries in pairs stand in the top six as well after the short program. Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan lead the field at 54.53, Tatiana Novik and Mikhail Kuznetsov of Russia second at 53.31 and new pairs team Taylor Steele of Strathroy, Ont., and Robert Schultz of Puslinch, Ont., are third at 46.50.

Thirteen-year-old Brittany Jones of Toronto and Kurtis Gaskell of Guelph, Ont., are fifth at 43.78 and Margaret Purdy of Strathroy and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are sixth at 41.79.

In men’s singles after the short program, Ronald Lam of Coquitlam, B.C., stands fourth at 56.25. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan leads at 66.77, Austin Kanallakan of the U.S., is second at 66.68 and Gordei Gorshkov of Russia third at 59.88.

The finals in men’s singles, ice dancing and pairs are on Saturday.

For more information visit: www.isu.org

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