Penny Coomes believes her hard work is finally paying dividends after she and partner Nick Buckland produced a personal best score to lie eighth at the Figure Skating World Championships in Boston, USA.
The British duo looked fluent on the first day of ice dance competition as they recorded a score of 68.23 points in the short dance programme – their highest-ever score on the international stage.
French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are top after scoring 76.29 with two American duos also sitting in the podium positions, Maia and Alex Shibutani second on 74.70 and Madison Chock and Evan Bates in bronze with 72.46.
And Coomes claims that being in the top ten after day one is particularly sweet bearing in mind previous World Championship disappointments.
“I’m so happy right now – last year I didn’t get to come to compete at the World Championships because I was really unwell,” said Coomes.
“I am so grateful to be here and the training has paid off. We’ve skated well all season but I don’t feel like our scores have been there, so to finally get that big score – a personal best in a big way – I’m over the moon.”
Phil Harris also excelled in Boston as he produced the best British male performance at a World Championships in 18 years to qualify for the men’s free skate.
Making his debut on the biggest stage, Harris recorded a score of 68.53 to finish 21st in the short programme, with the top 25 reaching the free skate.
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu led the way of 110.56 with Javier Fernandez of Spain notching 98.52 points and Canada’s Patrick Chan sitting third on 94.84.
And Harris admits that the overriding emotion after producing a strong performance was relief.
“You can say it’s one of the loneliest sports in the world – you’re out there on your own and you have to perform at your best in front of thousands and thousands of people,” said Harris.
“From that respect, to finish, come out, work and go for it – that was positive and there is relief that I did that and went for it."