2-time defending champ Shoma Uno leads after men’s short program at figure skating worlds

Japan’s Shoma Uno placed first in the men’s short program Thursday at the World Figure Skating Championships.

Uno, the two-time defending champion, led the pack with a 107.72 score at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama — the 2022 Olympic silver medallist — was second (106.35) ahead of American Ilia Malinin (105.97).

“I could have performed a lot better, and a few minor things here and there I could have really done them a lot better,” Malinin said. “But overall I’m just happy with my score.”

Malinin, a bronze medallist at last year’s world championship, said the last few weeks have been a “really tough challenge” because he hasn’t felt well. Asked if it was an injury or illness, he said “both,” but wouldn’t specify further.

“I was even worried about if I wasn’t able to come to worlds,” he said. “It was definitely really hard. Some days I’d have to miss practice. Last week we had a talk and I just decided I want to go, I’m going to try my best no matter how I feel.”

Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., wowed the home crowd and posted 84.28 points, shattering his previous season-best of 72.44 to finish 11th.

“I just felt myself,” Sadovsky said. “I felt in the zone, every moment felt really good.”

The 24-year-old was 12th at the 2022 world championships.

Canadian champion Wesley Chiu of Vancouver was 18th (78.00).

WATCH l Men’s short program:

ISU World Figure Skating Championships Montreal: Men’s short program

Watch the men’s short program at ISU World Figure Skating Championships from Montreal.

The free program is set for Saturday evening.

Later on Thursday, Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps were to go for gold in the pairs free program. The two-time national champions placed first in the short program Wednesday.

Watch live coverage of the World Figure Skating Championships on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. The pairs free program begins at 6 p.m. ET.

WATCH l Stellato-Dudek’s re-emergence and renaissance:

Deanna Stellato-Dudek’s figure skating re-emergence and renaissance

Chasing world championship figure skating pairs gold, 40-year-old Canadian Deanna Stellato-Dudek talks about her return to figure skating after a 16-year hiatus.

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