Osmond, Weaver/Poje lead after short program at Cup of China

BEIJING – Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L. leads the women’s field and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are first in ice dance after Friday’s short programs at the Cup of China figure skating competition, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.

In ice dancing, Weaver and Poje produced a personal international score for their short dance with 73.78 points. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani follow closely at 73.23 and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia are third at 72.09.

Weaver and Poje were third at the Rostelecom Cup in Russia earlier this month.

“We’ve shown great improvements since Russia,” said Weaver. “We still haven’t had a perfectly clean performance and that’s what we are aiming for.”

Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., withdrew after Paul injured her knee in practice.

In women’s competition, Osmond continued an impressive 2016-17 season earning 72.20 points. Elania Radinova of Russia is second at 70.75 and Mai Mihara of Japan third at 68.48.

So far this season, Osmond was second at Skate Canada International with two personal best scores and won an international event in Finland.

“I’m overall pretty happy,” said Osmond. “It didn’t feel quite as good as Skate Canada but I got everything done.”

In pairs, Xiaoyu and Hao Zhang of China are first at 72.49 followed by Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto in second at 71.28 and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China third at 69.93.

‘’The program felt good,’’ said Moscovitch. ‘’We were at an even-keel energy-wise and other than a little mistake on the jump felt we were very connected.’’

In men’s competition, three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto stands third after the short program with 83.41 points. Boyang Jin of China has a big lead at 96.17 and Daniel Samohin of Israel is second at 83.47.

“Today was a bit rough,” said Chan, coming off a victory at Skate Canada International. “I obviously could have done a lot better. All the landings were a little shaky. The little mistakes add up to big mistakes in the short program.”

All four free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: ISU GP Audi Cup of China 2016

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