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Strong start for Craine in season opener

Published 5 August 2017 (AEDT)

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FIGURE SKATING: PyeongChang 2018 figure skating hopeful, Kailani Craine has launched her 2017 season with a clear message -  she may be young, but she means business.

The 18-year-old has shown her international competition at the Asian Open Trophy and she's not there to muck around, recording a solid third place finish after the free program and another podium.

"This is my first competition of the season, the Asian Open Trophy, I'm competing against some really good skaters from countries such as Japan and Korea," Craine said. 

The Newcastle native finished behind two Japanese skaters, Kaori Sakamoto and Yuna Shiraiwa, in the opening short program of the trophy, but said it is her new free program that she was most excited to perform.

"I'm really using this competition to debut my new free program which I absolutely love!," said Craine, who hopes to make her Olympic debut at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. 

"I would love to record a personal best in this competition, and perhaps some add some new elements to my performance.

"Also if I can improve my ranking that would be an extra bonus."

Skating her four-minute program to Moulin Rouge, Craine landed two triple lutzes, a triple flip and delivered all level 4 spins to score 100.87.

With two falls on her usually reliable triple loop and double axel, she was unable to record the personal best score she was looking for, but as an opening season’s event, the higher technical preparation is on her mind.

"This event is a really good warmup for the upcoming Olympic season, and really every event that I will compete in this season will count towards my Olympic preparation.

"I'm just working towards improving my technical ability and also improving my world ranking."

The three-time Australian Champion also said the fact that this year's 2017 Asian Open Trophy was held in Hong Kong was an added bonus. 

"This year the competition is held in Hong Kong which is really cool because it's my first time visiting here!"

Craine was joined by fellow Australian skaters, James Min and Andrew Dodds who finished 7th and 9th respectively in the men's event, and pairs skaters, Paris Stephens and Matthew Dodds who secured a 4th place finish.

Ashleigh Knight

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