NICE, France (AFP) –
Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy opened their bid for a fourth pairs title at the world figure skating championships here on Wednesday by leading the short programme.
Despite errors in their routine to Hans Zimmer’s Angels and Demons soundtrack, the pair scored 68.63 points to put them ahead of Olympic silver medallists Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China, who achieved 67.10.
Japan’s Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran are sitting third with 65.37 ahead of Friday’s free skating final.
Last year’s silver medallists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia are struggling in eighth after Trankov fell on his bottom towards the end of their 2min 50sec routine to Alex Goldshtein’s “Bring Me Back to Life”.
The Germans won the Grand Prix Final ahead of Volosozhar and Trankov by 0.18 points. But the Russians took the European title as the Germans were absent through injury.
Three-time world junior champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China are a disappointing sixth after 16-year-old Sui fell on a triple toe jump during their American Country Dance programme.
“We were a little nervous because we are competing in our first world championship,” she said.
“This is a big senior event. Maybe nerves played a role but overall we didn’t skate so well today.”
Ri Ji Hyang and Thae Won Hyok, the first North Koreans to compete at the world championships, failed to advance to the free skate final as they finished last in the 20-team event with 36.23 points with the top 16 advancing.
“It’s our first worlds and we’re very excited about that,” said Thae.
Ri added: “I fell twice in the warm up but I landed everything in the programme so we’re happy with it.”
In ice dancing, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White open the defence of their title faced with their great rivals — Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir later on Wednesday.