Purich and Tran crack top-five at Four Continents

TAIPEI – Natasha Purich of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Mervin Tran of Regina climbed from seventh to fifth place in pairs on Friday at the ISU Four Continents Championships figure skating competition.

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China took the gold in front of three American couples.

Purich and Tran didn’t match their best scores earned at a Grand Prix in Paris in November but still made a big move to post their best international result in their first season together.

“Our long program wasn’t as good as we would have liked,” said Purich. “But we fought to the end and didn’t give up. We know we can be better.”

Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., were seventh.

In men’s singles, all three Canadians produced clean free skates. Jeremy Ten of Vancouver was ninth, 15-year-old Nam Nguyen of Burnaby, B.C., was 10th and Elladj Baldé of Pierrefonds, Que., 11th. Takahito Mura led Japan to a 1-2 finish.

Ten set a personal best international score of 208.51. ‘’I fought through like I always do,’’ he said. ‘’I’m happy with my performance and I have a lot of positives to take away with me such as my short program and being in the last flight.’’

Nguyen also earned a personal best international score of 204.69. ‘’I feel great because I was able to accomplish my goals that I have set coming into this competition,’’ he said.

Baldé gained two spots in the standings and landed his first quadruple jump in competition in a long program. Still he admitted it was difficult to recharge the battery after the intensity of the national championships three weeks ago.

‘’It was hard to find the strength and inner power to compete,’’ said Baldé, 13th after the short program. ‘’I had a tough short program but I was pleased to come back back this strong for the long. There’s still a lot to work on but it’s nice to finish here on a positive note.’’

Competition ends Saturday with the women’s free skate.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/fc2014/index.htm

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