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Canada's Nguyen books his spot in world junior main event

The Canadian Press

2/27/2012 6:44:30 PM

MINSK, Belarus -- Canada's Nam Nguyen has booked his spot to skate against the big boys.

The 13-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., the youngest male skater at the world junior figure skating championships, won the qualifying round Monday to move on to the main draw.

The top 14 of 24 men in the preliminary round moved on to face 16 skaters who were direct entries. Liam Firus, a 19-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., was a direct qualifier.

Skating to Beethoven's Piano Concertos No. 1 and 5, Nguyen was the only skater to land a triple Axel, en route to scoring a season's best 116.33 points.

"It felt really good out there," Nguyen said. "I had a lot of fun and it was my first time to do a clean triple Axel. It looked easy, but it was pretty hard."

Nguyen made history last year by becoming the youngest competitor to win the Canadian junior men's title at the age of 12. He was too young to skate at the world championships.

He made his ISU Junior Grand Prix debut this season, winning a bronze medal in Romania. He competed as a senior at the Canadian championships, finishing seventh.

"I try to think about competing with the other skaters, not about the age," Nguyen said. "I just want to do my best out there. Although it wasn't my best, I still felt it was really good."

Nguyen completed four clean triple jumps, but popped a Lutz.

Hayleigh Bell of Acton, Ont., and Alistair Sylvester of Stratford, Ont., finished fourth in the pairs qualifying to move on.

June Hyoung Lee of South Korea was second with 110.48 points, while Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines was third.