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Osmond Lutzes way to win in qualifying round

Canada's bronze medalist shatters previous personal best

South Korean Hae-Jin Kim finished third in the junior ladies preliminary round.
South Korean Hae-Jin Kim finished third in the junior ladies preliminary round. (Getty Images)

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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(02/28/2012) - The Maple Leaf is flying high in Minsk.

First, Nam Nguyen, at just 13 years of age, won the men's qualifying round. Now, during the second day of competition at the 2012 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, another Canadian, 16-year-old Kaetlyn Osmond, has won the ladies qualifying, landing her first-ever triple Lutz in competition in the process.

"I felt great, and it is one of my best [free skates] ever," the Edmonton, Alberta-based skater, who trains under Ravi Walia, said. "It was the first time I tried the triple Lutz in the program, and it went really well."

Performing to Saint-Saens' "Rondo Capriccioso," Osmond -- who placed third at the 2012 Canadian Championships behind champion Amelie Lacoste and silver medalist Cynthia Phaneuf -- also landed two triple flips, the first in combination with a double toe; a triple toe combination; and two double Axels en route to 97.36 points, nearly 25 points above her previous personal best. Her only mistake was doubling an intended triple Salchow.

Osmond's junior qualifying score outpaced Lacoste and Phaneuf's senior free skate totals at the 2012 Four Continents Championships, despite featuring one fewer element.

China's Ziquan Zhao landed six triple jumps to place second with 94.53 points. Hae-Jin Kim of South Korea took third with 93.97 points.

Plushenko's surgery a success

Evgeni Plushenko's manager, Ari Zakarian, is in Minsk spreading the word that his client's Feb. 23 meniscus surgery in Munich went well.

"The meniscus surgery was very successful," Zakarian said. "The doctors had also planned surgery in his back, but they found out it was not necessary, so they only made a small [incision], which was also successful.

"Evgeni plans to fly back home from Munich to Russia on Wednesday. He will rest a bit so that everything can heal and certainly will not compete at worlds in March. For the month of April, I have already organized a few new shows. Beginning in May, he will prepare for a full new season with many competitions. His main goal certainly remains to participate in Sochi 2014."

Plushenko won the 2006 Olympic title, as well as Olympic silver medals in 2002 and 2010. In January, he won his seventh European title, landing two quads despite skating on a pre-operative left knee. He has vowed to compete in three Grand Prix events, the Grand Prix Final, the Russian championships, the 2013 European Championships and the 2013 World Championships next season.

Minsk madness: Some 36 junior ladies took the ice for qualifying, with the top 12 moving on to the short program. None of the three U.S. ladies was required to qualify, because the U.S. placed three ladies in the top 18 at the 2011 Junior Worlds ... The best-known lady competing in the qualifying round, Sweden's Joshi Helgesson, placed sixth after falling on a downgraded double Axel and botching her closing camel combination spin.