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Strong comeback for Coomes and Buckland at World Figure Skating Championships

After three days of incredible skating at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in the TD Garden arena, Boston, USA; Great Britain leaves the competition with elite Ice Dance couple Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland firmly back on the scene ranking 7th in the world.

The competition began on Wednesday 30th March and ends today, Saturday 2nd April. Over the days the ice has played centre stage to the greatest skating talent in the world and among them were four skaters from Great Britain.

For seasoned athletes and double Olympians Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland skating in Ice Dance, this competition served as a comeback to the world scene, having missed out on the 2015 European and World Championships due to illness. With huge anticipation and support from Great Britain and beyond, the couple certainly did not disappoint as they took to the ice on Wednesday.

A solid Short Dance saw them land a season best score of 68.23, going in to Thursday’s Free Dance in 8th place behind teams from France, USA, Canada and Italy.

Nick and Penny's reaction to their Short Dance results

When Thursday’s Free Dance came, Coomes and Buckland were once again met by strong support and enjoyment from the crowds at TD Garden as well as online from supporters around the world. This was reflected in a wonderful performance as well as in the scores where they found themselves with a career best score of 104.94.

This left them with an overall score of 173.17 and a ranking of 7th in the world; a strong improvement from their 9th place finish in 2014 and a great comeback for the couple after a difficult season last year.

High Performance Manager at the National Ice Skating Association, Robin Cousins said;

“Nick and Penny skated brilliantly on both days and the result is a great testament to their work ethic this season. With training and coaching changes and new material they really took each event as a stepping stone and at this competition they put forward two dynamic and passionate performances.

“They have shown the skating world they're back and mean business in the coming seasons leading to PyeongChang and the 2018 Olympic games. It’s a result they and British skating can be very proud of.”

Overall the Ice Dance category was incredibly strong but the World Champion title remained with reigning champions, Papadakis and Cizeron of France. Maia and Alex Shibutani of USA took the silver medal with fellow American couple Chock and Bates close behind with bronze.

Skating for the men was Phillip Harris. The current British National champion, who lives and trains in Coventry, began the competition on Wednesday with a strong Short Programme. This left him with a season best score of 68.53 and early qualification to the Free Skate on Friday.

Phil and the team after his Short Programme

Having come away from his Short Programme in high spirits, Harris was then 4th on the ice for the Free Skate. His enjoyment of the event shone through as he gave a tough skate his all, ending his season with yet another ISU season best score of 121.89. This left him an overall score of 190.42 and a ranking of 22nd in the world.

A competitive men’s category saw reigning World Champion, Javier Fernandez from Spain defend his title once more with an impressive score of 216.41 and 314.93 overall. Joining him on the podium was world record breaker Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan in silver, and Boyang Jin of China in bronze.

The youngest to represent our nation across the pond and one of the youngest in her category at only 15 was Kristen Spours from Lee Valley. Skating first in the ladies short programme, Spours rose to the occasion leading the competition off with a season best score of 42.64. For her first time skating at this level in an ISU championship event this was a fantastic achievement and a great taste of the world scene at its finest.

Kristen and the team after her performance

Congratulations to all of the skaters who took part in the competition. You can find full results here and if you weren’t able to catch the competition as it unfolded, you can replay the events with official ISU videos online here.

You can watch highlights from the competition on BBC Two on Sunday 3rd April from 3pm.

Join in the #Worlds2016 conversation on Twitter: @NISA_iceskating and @Worlds2016

 

Published: 2nd April 2016