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Canada's Firus claims eighth in singles at world juniors

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The Canadian Press
3/3/2012 6:45:08 PM
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MINSK, Belarus -- Canada's Liam Firus claimed eighth place in men's singles while teammate Kaetlyn Osmond was 10th in the women's event Saturday at the world junior figure skating championships.

Han Yan became the first Chinese man to win the world title, while 13-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia won the women's event in her world debut.

Han scored 222.45, passing American Joshua Farris to claim the gold.

Firus, from North Vancouver, B.C., scored 189.06.

"Other than the triple Axel, I did all my jumps that were planned," said Firus, who was seventh after Thursday's short program. "Everything felt good. I had two solid skates here and couldn't ask for more. My training paid off."

Nam Nguyen of Burnaby, B.C., the youngest male skater in the event at 13, climbed from 18th after the short program to finish 13th overall.

"I felt really great out there," said Nguyen. "It was fun and it was a better performance than earlier this week. This was a learning experience and next year I hope to do much better."

Lipnitskaia of Russia took the women's gold with a score of 187.05. American Gracie Gold was second while Adelina Sotnikova of Russia won the bronze.

Osmond, from Marystown, N.L., scored 146.25.

"It didn't go over as well as I would have hoped but there were some good moments," said Osmond. "It's been a great experience and very motivating. My goal here was a top-10 and I made it."

Canada had six top-10 finishes on the competition, the best result coming from Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., who were fifth in pairs on Thursday.

"It was a good week here," said Skate Canada's high performance director Mike Slipchuk. "We had a lot of skaters making their world juniors debut and they stepped it up to give a great performance."

Han produced a triple Axel, quadruple toe loop and five more clean triples in the free skate.

"I feel very honoured to be the first Chinese man to win this title," the 15-year-old said. "Today my performance was pretty good, I showed my level."

Farris, who wobbled on his triple Lutz-triple toe combination, was second on 221.97. Another American, Jason Brown, rose from fourth to the bronze medal.

Lipnitskaia, the Junior Grand Prix Final champion, was almost flawless with her seven triple jumps and high-level spins. She was 15 points better overall than silver medallist Gracie Gold of the U.S. Adelina Sotnikova of Russia earned the bronze.

"I am incredibly happy now," Lipnitskaia said. "I liked everything and the performance was ideal. Now I am in a great mood. It was a great ending for a great season."

-- With files from The Associated Press.

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