Kailani’s fearless performance skills, which have become her competitive hallmark, sell the program to the audience and judges and today she also delivered quality technical elements and raised the bar on her skating skills.
The free program blew Kailani’s previous personal best out of water, scoring 110.07 points – almost five points ahead of overall winner Nicole Schott from Germany.
Nicole Schott (Germany) won gold with 165.92 points, followed by Craine on 163.38. Russia’s Alexandra Avstrivskaya took bronze with 157.57 and in 4th was Japan’s Miyu Nakashio on 157.23.
29 competitors competed in the Warsaw Cup, which is the 8th in the ten-event ISU Challenger Series that attracts stronger competitors who are looking to break into the World top 15 and the all-important ISU Grand Prix events.
“I am happy with my points tonight. Of course I made some silly mistakes but I am confident I can improve on my performance for the upcoming national championships,” Kailani said after her podium performance.
Coach Galina Pachin is proud of Kailani’s fighting spirit after a few difficult training days.
“She was a bit down in the morning because the triple flip wasn't working well. I told her that no matter what happens in the official practice - leave it there and come to comp with positive attitude and she did,” Galina explained.
"Kailani had skated well all three days leading into this event but needed to stop thinking negatively, relax in her transitions between elements and stop trying too hard. Everything in the program Kailani can do well. I am so happy for her.
I can't describe how fresh she looked. Light on the ice and got more exited with every element she did. Only the layback at the end was not so good. She needs to try to be better each comp from now on. I’m so happy, well done team Kailani,” Galina said.
School is now behind the 18-year-old, allowing for less stressful training blocks ahead of the all-important ISU Championships Four Continents next February and the World Championships in late March, which will determine Olympic Qualifying places.
Kailani says she will be ready and the best is ‘yet to come’.
“I feel like I can be competitive at the top and I am working towards pushing my skating to its absolute limits.”
“I was upset with my skate at Volvo Cup last week (where she took the overall bronze medal), but I had to reset fast and I’m very glad I had both my parents there to help me.”
“I've had school to deal with until now, which I think I've done well to prepare as well as I can. However now I will push full steam ahead towards my dreams.”
Those dreams are squarely focussed on the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea. Podiums on back-to-back weekends are an outstanding start to her Olympic campaign.
“I am confident I can achieve way more than I have shown, so I say, the best is yet to come,” she said. Two weekends with podiums has me feeling like things are finally starting to work.”
“Technically I’m going after the triple/triple – so we will see.”
Next stop for Kailani is the Australian Figure Skating Championships in Melbourne at the O’Brien Group Arena in the Docklands on December 1 and 2 where she will be defending her title for the third year before heading back to Europe for the last ISU Challenger event this season in Zagreb, Croatia.
Photo: Kailani Craine gets a podium slefie with gold and bronze medallists Nicole Schott and Alexandra Avstrivskaya. photo courtesy of Stephen Craine