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Top 10 results for Australian figure skaters

22 February 2011

Australian figure skaters Cheltzie Lee, Danielle O'Brien and Gregory Merriman, have all finished in the top 10 of the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei on the weekend.

Seventeen-year old Lee, who skated for Australia at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, finished 10th in the Ladies competition, while O'Brien and Merriman took ninth place in the Ice Dance routine, two places ahead of fellow Australian competitors Maria and Evgeni Borounov.

It was Lee's first international event since the World Championships last March. The AIS scholarship holder overcame nerves to break into the top 10 at an ISU Championship event for the first time after an error free short program, followed by a strong showing in the free program.

Perth's Jamie Nobbs, whose parents represented Australia in hockey at the Olympics, placed 20th in a field of 29 skaters.

Japan's Miki Ando easily won the event ahead of compatriot and current World Champion and Olympic Silver medallist, Mao Asada. USA’s Mirai Nagasu took the bronze.

Coach, Kylie Fennell, was happy with the Lee's 10th place, but says more work needs to be done.

"Breaking into the top 10 at an ISU Championship has been Cheltzie's goal, but it doesn't stop there. The past six months have been difficult with a flare up of an old back injury after the Olympics, but it was the freak knee injury in August last year that really set her back," Fennell said.

"Saying that, the injury probably occurred at the best possible time as Cheltzie needed to focus on her HSC studies. We now have four weeks to prepare for the World Championships and she has higher level triples that she wants to incorporate into her programs.

"It was a matter of getting this first performance under her belt after one year away from competition of any sort."

Lee, from Campbelltown in New South Wales, will return to Australia to begin her tertiary education at the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield next week.

Ice Dancers O'Brien and Merriman were up against Olympic and World Champions in their competition, but the AIS scholarship holders skated to a career best ninth place.

The event was won by US Champions and Vancouver Olympic Silver medalists, Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who were leading the event going into the final, were forced to withdraw due to injury.

The Men's title was won by defending champion Diasuke Takahashi. Australian Champion, Mark Webster, finished in 16th place, landing his first triple axel and a berth to the World Championships to be held in Tokyo in mid-March. Australian youngster, Brendan Kerry finished in 18th.

Australia will send a strong team to the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo, with Cheltzie Lee, Danielle Obrien, Greg Merriman and Mark Webster all representing their country.

Olympic Winter Institute

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