An effervescent teenager with a competitive heart of steel, Kailani made her international senior debut in stunning style yesterday winning the short program with a lead of almost three points and followed it up tonight with five triple jumps in her free program, scoring 96.57 and 151.39 overall. The overall winner, Angelina Kuchova from Latvia, scored 104.31 in her free program with a strong technical program that included triple lutz and a triple combination to amass an overall total of 156.15. The bronze went to Dasa Grm from Slovenia, while Austrian Champion and Sochi Olympian Kirsten Frank had to settle for fourth.
On winning silver at her senior debut, Kailani said she was happy with her short program but not as pleased with the free.
“The goal was to achieve the World Championship qualifying score in the free program and I did that, but I am a bit shattered that I held back that little bit in the free program. I was happy with the short but there are plenty of things I can improve upon,” she said.
Kailani, who won the national junior and senior Australian Figure Skating Championships in December, is no stranger to international success having won gold in the junior division of the Lombardia Trophy in Italy last September.
Coached by George Galanis in Newcastle and in Los Angeles, USA by Tiffany Chin, Kailani’s next event, after a quick trip home to begin Year 11, is the ISU Four Continents Championships in Korea next month. She also plans to compete at the Junior World Championship in late March.
“As a new athlete to the OWIA figure skating program, Kailani has demonstrated all the hallmarks of a great career to come,” said OWIA Figure Skating Co-coordinator, Belinda Noonan. “Her joy in performing is a treat to watch. Combine that with her strong competitive spirit and ever-improving triple jumps, Australia now has two world-class women figure skaters in Kailani Craine and 2014 Olympian Brooklee Han.”
The New South Wales Ice Skating Association (NSWISA) is now an OWIA partner for its two national champions, Brendan Kerry and Kailani Craine.