Russia wins figure skating World Team Trophy event, Canada sixth

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OSAKA, Japan — World champion Anna Shcherbakova won the women’s free skate on Saturday to seal Russia's first-ever victory at the figure skating World Team Trophy.

Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto finished second with 150.29 points ahead of Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamysheva in third with 146.23 points.

Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., placed eighth in the women’s free program. Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., was 10th.

Russia's 125 points clinched its first World Team Trophy.

The United States — the defending champion — was second with 110 followed by Japan with 107 and Canada in sixth with 57.

The biennial World Team Trophy features the six best figure skating teams from the 2020-21 season.

Each country sends two men, two women, one pair and one ice dancing entry. The points are combined across the four disciplines with the highest point total winning.

The Canadians competed in their first live event in a season ravaged by COVID-19.

Canada sent different skaters to Osaka than the team that competed at last month's world championships in Stockholm.

The Canadians who competed in the world championship didn't participate in the World Team Trophy because of Canadian quarantine rules, Skate Canada said Saturday in a statement.

“To have the opportunity for our athletes to compete in the World Team Trophy and in front of a live audience was a great way to end what has been such a difficult year,” Skate Canada High Performance Director Mike Slipchuk said.

“For these athletes and those who represented Canada at the world championships in Sweden, it will be an invaluable competitive experience as they look to the Olympic season ahead.”

Both Skate Canada International and the Canadian championships were cancelled. Skate Canada Challenge was held virtually.

A limited number of fans were allowed into Maruzen Intec Arena even though Osaka is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

On Saturday, Japan’s second-largest city recorded over 1,161 cases, the third-highest daily tally.

With less than a year to go until the Beijing Olympics, many of the world’s top skaters were in Osaka, eager to get in another competition after several International Skating Union events were cancelled due to the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2021.

With files from The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press