Jan 12 (Reuters) - Gabrielle Daleman shrugged off pneumonia-like symptoms to take the women’s short program lead as defending champion and favourite Kaetlyn Osmond took a tumble at the Canadian figure skating championships in Vancouver on Friday.
A day before her 20th birthday, Daleman performed a clean program to earn 77.88 points, well ahead of Osmond’s 71.41.
“And the end of the day that sounds bad, and it kind of is because you can’t breathe, but I look at it as extra cardio training,” Daleman told reporters.
“If I can do this now, imagine what I can do at full strength. This was just a great confidence booster.”
Osmond, meanwhile, fell on her first jump but displayed poise to skate cleanly thereafter.
“It was a random mistake,” said the 22-year-old from Toronto, who is expected to be a major contender at next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.
“Obviously, I’m not overly pleased with it. I don’t remember the last time that I missed a (triple) flip in competition.
“But overall I’m so happy that I was able to come back after a fall, a very uncharacteristic fall for me, and be able to keep my focus through the whole program.”
Also on Friday, Olympic silver medallist Patrick Chan took the lead in the men’s short program with a routine that earned him 90.98 points, ahead of Kevin Reynolds.
Chan did not quite display the form of his 2011-13 peak, when he won three consecutive world championships, but he looked sharp enough to suggest he will also be a factor in Pyeongchang.
In the pairs, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford opened a huge lead on 81.78 points, while in the ice dance, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were nearly perfect to lead with a stellar 85.12 points.
The Canadian team is widely expected to be one of the powerhouses in SOuth Korea, with 17 spots allotted for the country’s skaters, more than any other nation.
Canada will name its team on Sunday at the completion of the championships. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by John O’Brien)