Kerry's top five finish gives the 22-year-old a strong foundation for the free program on Sunday, moving him into the prestigious final flight of skaters and amongst the top ranked men ahead of the World Championships at the end of March.
“I came to this competition not worried about placement or scores. It’s always nice to get a good score but I want to use this event for practice in preparation for Worlds where I have to qualify a spot at the Olympics,” he said.
As Australia’s only man with not one but two quad jumps, being able to return to his quad toe jump after battling bone bruising in his left foot all season is an important breakthrough.
Kerry landed the quad salchow jump in both the short and free at last week’s Four Continents but the Asian Winter Games has provided the opportunity to go after the quad toe again, relax a bit and fine tune his performances.
“The short program here is definitely a good feeling, I’m not worrying about anything, I’m just having fun and enjoying it,” Kerry said.
Kerry is happy to be building form at a crucial time.
“I feel like I’m putting out consistent skates,” he said.
“The hardest part about competing in these big events is you’re always nervous and I was still a little anxious but it was also fun so that was nice.”
Leading the men’s event is Boyang Jin, the 2016 World Championship bronze medallist.
Also competing yesterday was ice dance duo William Badaoui and Matilda Friend who achieved their second personal best in as many days, scoring 42.56 in the free program for an overall 105.98 and sixth place finish.
“Regardless of the mistakes all the technical parts of the program were still good,” Friend said.
“We had wobbles at the beginning and fitness problems but when we got to our elements we could focus and re-group and got it all out technically,” she said.
The couple is part-way through a busy competition schedule and will now return to Australia for two weeks before heading to the World Junior Figure Skating Championships.
“We have to go back and modify our programs and it’s just going to be about drilling the fitness and getting back into that constant training so we can skate our peak and get another personal best.”
“Our big goal is to perform well enough in the short so that we can qualify through to the free dance and if we can skate the free at the Junior Worlds that would be a big thing because we didn’t make the cut-off last year.”
In the Pairs, Paris Stephens and Matthew Dodds completed their short program for a score of 29.52 for a sixth place ranking.
“There were a couple of things missing that are usually standard for us so obviously we’re disappointed in that,” Dodd said.
“Looking at the marks there were still some things that were pretty good, the lift went well and we got a four in our spin.
“There were things in there we were happy with and things that didn’t quite go as well but overall fairly happy,” he said.
The couple has had to adjust to an unfamiliar competition environment.
“I find the ice a bit soft so I find it harder to get my toe jumps and get off my toe,” Stephens said.
“The whole arena is a bit overwhelming but I need to get used to that,” she said.