Best international showing for Balde

OBERSTDORF, Germany – Elladj Balde of Montreal posted his best international result at the senior level on Friday placing fifth in men’s singles at the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition.

Jason Brown of the U.S., took the gold with 237.17 points, Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic was second at 228.48 and Konstantin Menshov of Russia third at 211.03.  Balde, third after the short program, took fifth at 186.78.

Liam Firus of North Vancouver was ninth.

It was a 1-2 Russian finish in pairs as Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov sailed to gold with 195.89 points. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov were second at 178.98 and Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the U.S., were third at 166.10.

Canadian junior champions Vanessa Grenier of Sherbrooke, Que., and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., were fifth in their international debut scoring 157.06.

In Thursday’s short dance, world championship silver medallists, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., unveiled their new short program and grabbed the lead with 65.59 points. Madison Chok and Evan Bates of the U.S., follow at 62.80 and Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi of Germany are third at 58.67.

“It was important for us to get off to a good start with a new program,” said Poje. “Obviously this is an event for which we can get some feedback so we can be ready for the start of the Grand Prix season.”

Weaver and Poje are poised to carry last season’s success into 2014-15.

“Our goal this year is to be the top team in the world,” said Weaver.  “Our new programs are a departure from last season with an increase in difficulty.”

Elisabeth Paradis of Loretteville, Que., and François-Xavier Ouellette of Laval, Que., are fifth.

In women’s competition, Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., is seventh after the short program.

The women’s free skate and free dance are on Saturday.

Full results:

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