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James settles for fifth place in Japan

Bermuda's Vanessa James was forced to settle for a fifth-place finish at the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, yesterday.

James and her partner Morgan Ciprès, representing France, went into the pairs discipline as one of the favourites, but they ultimately were punished after a forgettable first day on Wednesday.

During warm-ups for the short programme, James collided with Italian skater Matteo Guarise before falling after a botched landing in their throw triple flip routine, in which James fell to the ice.

That setback left them in seventh-place and although James and Ciprès, who were undefeated this season and the first French pair to win the European Championship in over 80 years, recovered in the pairs free discipline, finishing third, it was only enough to see them move up two places in the overall standings with a combined score of 215.19 points.

James, whose father Kevin is Bermudian, was born in Ontario, Canada, but lived in Bermuda until age 10 when she moved to the United States, could not hide her annoyance after the competition but tried to remain resolute.

“Worlds hasn't been our best friend,” James said, “I fell on the twist in the short programme once and I fell on the triple Salchow before, but we know that each time we are getting stronger.”

Her partner Ciprès echoed her determination and reiterated their desire to win a world title.

“I think we did our job and we are never giving up,” he added. “We won't give up until we get the world title.”

China's Olympic silver medal-winners Sui Wenjing and Han Cong took the pairs crown after a breathtaking free skate the Saitama Super Arena.

Despite a season blighted by injury, the 2017 world champions skated a lyrical, moving programme for a season's best 155.60 and 234.84 combined, drawing a packed crowd to its feet with their clean jumps and impressive lifts.

Russian pairs filled out the rest of the podium with second place going to overnight leaders Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who took a commanding lead in the short programme.

They ultimately suffered from a mistake-marred programme that included Morozov putting his hand to the ice in the wake of their triple toe loop.

Third place went to compatriots Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, whose dynamic programme earned them 144.02 and a combined total of 217.98.

French pair Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres

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Published March 22, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 22, 2019 at 12:34 am)

James settles for fifth place in Japan

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