ZAGREB, Croatia –
Canada’s remarkable performances on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit continued Friday as Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., won the pairs gold medal in comeback fashion at the season’s sixth stop.
Canadians now have 10 medals on the circuit so far in 2012 including three gold.
In pairs, Purdy and Marinaro, fourth after the short program, roared back in their free skate to collect their second victory this season with a personal best 147.40 points. The win also assures them a spot in the Grand Prix final in December in Sochi, Russia, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China were second at 146.00 and Vasilisa Davankova and Andrei Deputat of Russia third at 143.62.
“This is the year we want to make the big step,” said Purdy, 17, who has skated with Marinaro, 20, for the past six years. “It’s our last year at the junior level and we want to go out strong. We felt our free program was really good today. We went in confident and skated the way we know we can.”
There were two other Canadian entries in the pairs competition.
Hayleigh Bell of Acton, Ont., and Alistair Sylvester of Stratford, Ont., were sixth and Krystel Desjardins Blainville, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., were ninth.
In ice dancing after Friday’s short dance, Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., are fourth less than three points out of third. Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Ottawa are sixth.
The men’s free skate is later Friday. Mitchell Gordon of Vancouver is standing sixth after Thursday’s short program.