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Short program delivers top group for Craine

24 February 2017

FIGURE SKATING: Australia’s Kailani Craine has again increased her best score in the short program after skating to a top five finish with 55.02 points in the ladies short program at the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games last night.

Where the short program was previously the weaker portion at international events, Craine’s PB at last week’s Four Continents Championships at the Olympic test event of 54.70 was bested again in Sapporo with an error-free short program, which included a triple flip jump combo and triple loop.

After a disappointing free program at the Four Continents Skating Championships, Craine was looking for a confidence boost in last night’s short program, believing there is more to give.

“I would have loved to have done a better short program,” Craine said.

“I expect more from myself and while people may think that’s great, I really would have liked more from myself, especially after the practices I’ve been having.

18-year old Craine has set an ambitious target for the free program and her current fifth place puts her in the last group to compete the free program on Saturday.

“What I’ve learnt from Four Continents is that I need to fight for everything and not just expect it because I’ve been doing really good in training.

“I think I got a bit too confident in myself for the free state (last week) because I was doing nice free skates in advance of the competition and also in practice,” she said.

“The goal for the free skate is to put out a personal best, I’m really aiming for that and to redeem myself from the (Four Continents) free program because that was devastating for me.

“Now I have a day off - so I will be focusing on the practices but also focusing physically and mentally on how I’ll be feeling the next day.”

Earlier in the day young ice dancers Matilda Friend and William Badaoui performed their Hip Hop Short Dance, achieving a personal best score of 46.52 for sixth position, which was a major step-up from the 32.75 points they scored at the Olympic test event.

Friend said the Asian Winter Games had given the couple a confidence boost.

“It was really amazing, I’ve been in a really good mood ever since I got here and I can’t wipe the smile off my face,” Friend said.

“It makes such a difference feeling happy and positive about it. We can come out with a much better skate when we’re in that mindset and enjoying ourselves more."

The couple are also seeking redemption for a disappointing Four Continents outing.

“An additional goal for the Asian Winter Games would be to perform better than what we did last week,” Badaoui said. “Skate the best we can and I think we did that today.”

Figure Skating competition continues today with Free Dance, Brendan Kerry in the men’s short program and pair’s short program for Paris Stephens and Matthew Dodds.

Michelle Cook/Belinda Noonan

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