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Kaetlyn Osmond wins preliminary round at junior figure skating worlds

Kaetlyn Osmond from Sherwood Park, Alta., performs her short program in the senior women's competition at the Canadian figure skating championships in Moncton, N.B. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

For the second consecutive day, a Canadian skater has won a preliminary round at the world junior figure skating championships in Minsk, Belarus.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Sherwood Park. Alta. – who staged a major upset by winning the short program at the Canadian championships at the senior level last month – won the preliminary round in Minsk and delivered a milestone: she landed a triple Lutz for the first time.

It was also the first time she attempted the jump in a competition.

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On Monday, Nam Nguyen of Burnaby, B.C. won the men's preliminary round by about six points. Osmond, with a score of 97.36 for her free skate, was about three points ahead of Zhao Ziquan of China. Zhao is only 14.

Osmond, 16, finished third overall at the Canadian championships.

"It was one of my best skates ever," said Osmond, after landing four triples and completing two spins of the highest level of difficulty on Tuesday in Minsk.

Osmond said she landed the triple Lutz for the first time in November after the qualifying event for the national championships. "It didn't really get consistent until after nationals, which was a month ago," she said. "I thought I'll try it and see how it goes."

The triple Lutz is the most difficult jump that most female skaters do at the senior level. A handful have landed the more difficult triple Axel. Currently Mao Asada of Japan is the champion of the triple Axel, but she seldom lands it cleanly.

Osmond needs the triple Lutz to contend with a more difficult group of women in the short program. She will face three very strong Russian women, including reigning world junior champion Adelina Sotnikova, Junior Grand Prix champion Julia Lipnitskaia and Junior Grand Prix silver medalist Polina Shelepen, as well as Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist Li Zijun of China, U.S. junior champion Gracie Gold, talented Japanese skaters Satoko Miyahara and Risa Shoji and American Christine Gao, who is trained by Brian Orser in Toronto.

The women's short program is on Friday, while the final free skate is on Saturday.

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