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Canadians win pairs figure skating world title as Uno leads men's short programme

Shoma Uno of <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/japan/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Japan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Japan</a> reacts after topping the men's short programme scores at the Figure Skating World Championships in Montreal (Geoff Robins)

Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps won an emotional and historic pairs figure skating world title on home ice on Thursday as Japan's two-time defending champion Shoma Uno topped the men's short programme.

Stellato-Dudek, who at 40 became the oldest woman to win a figure skating world title in any discipline, was already weeping as she and Deschamps left the ice to a standing ovation at the Centre Bell.

Their free skate earned 144.08 points, that was second behind the 144.35 garnered by defending champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan, but it was plenty to give the Canadians the title with a total of 221.56 points.

Miura and Kihara, who missed much of the season due to injury, took silver with 217.88 and Germany's Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nikita Volodin were third on 210.40.

"It's a dream come true," Stellato-Dudek told the crowd, her voice breaking.

The 2000 world junior silver medallist skating for the United States, she retired in 2001 because of injuries but came back in pairs in 2016 and began skating for Canada in 2021.

The tension showed at moments in their free skate, but Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps rose to the occasion.

"It was difficult for me tonight as I was not feeling well," Stellato-Dudek said, Deschamps saying he felt "nothing but pride" at their performance.

"Deanna was sick. Our training session was difficult today, but we kept at it and pulled through.

"She is a warrior," he said.

Earlier, Uno landed a quad flip, a quad toe loop and triple toe loop combination plus a triple Axel to produce a season-best 107.72 points in the men's short programme, making him the man to beat for the title in Saturday's free skate.

Compatriot Yuma Kagiyama was second in the short and American Ilia Malinin third.

Uno, 26, could become the first to win three consecutive men's world titles since American Nathan Chen completed a "Three-peat" in 2021.

Kagiyama, a two-time world runner-up who also took silver at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, was just behind on 106.35 with US teen Malinin next on 105.97.

Uno was unable to match his unbeaten 2022-23 campaign's domination this season, settling for runner-up Grand Prix finishes in China and Japan and a Grand Prix Final loss to Malinin.

But he stole the show from Kagiyama, who won the Four Continents crown.

Malinin, a 19-year-old two-time US champion, is the only skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

He was edged on artistic scores after landing a quad toe loop and a quad lutz-triple toe combination.

"It wasn't a programme I was really happy about but I was glad I was able to get through it," Malinin said, citing injuries and mental issues over the past two weeks.

"It was very mentally hard for me," he said. "I'm glad I just kept going and trusted and believed in myself."

South Korea's Cha Jun-hwan, last year's world runner-up, landed a quad salchow but fell moments later on a triple toe loop and was ninth on 88.21.

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