Sat, Nov 04, 2006 - Page 19 News List

S Korean teen dynamo excels in Canada

AFP , VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Kim Yu-na of South Korea performs in the ladies' short program on day one of Skate Canada in Victoria, British Columbia,Canada, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Reigning world junior champion Kim Yu-na got off to a strong start at the Skate Canada Grand Prix event, capturing first place in the ladies short program on Thursday.

The 16-year-old South Korean dynamo posted a personal best score of 62.68 points, bettering her old mark of 60.86 set earlier this year.

In her debut on the senior Grand Prix circuit, Kim finished ahead of Japan's Fumie Suguri (58.52) and Susanna Poykio (57.62) of Finland.

Skating first to the music of Tango de Roxane, Kim landed a triple flip-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz.

"This was my first time to compete in the senior Grand Prix, and so I was nervous, but I didn't make any mistakes, and I'm very pleased about that," said Kim, who divides her training between Seoul and Toronto.

World silver medalist Suguri also skated well, nailing a triple Lutz-double toeloop and a triple flip.

"It was very hard after the World Championships, I was very busy, and there were a lot of shows. It was difficult to find enough practice time, and so I'm not really prepared. But I will continue to practice and improve," she said.

Poykio skated to the music of One by Apocalyptica.

"It was a good performance, I had a new personal best. I still had mistakes on my spins, probably because I was a little bit nervous," Poykio said.

The US' Alissa Czisny placed fourth with 56.12 points and crowd favorite Joannie Rochette, of Canada, is in fifth place. Rochette doubled her planned triple Lutz.

The women's free skate is scheduled for today.

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