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Canada's Buttle 2nd at figure skating worlds

Canadian champion Jeff Buttle sat in second place in the men's competition at the world figure skating championships in Tokyo Wednesday.

Canadian champion Jeff Buttle sat in second place in the men's competition at the world figure skating championships in Tokyo Wednesday.

The Canadian posted a score of 79.90 in the short program, while Frenchman Brian Joubert was first with a personal-best score of 83.64.

"I'm really happy with the way that I skated," said Buttle. "I really just wanted to enjoy myself out there but at the same time fight for every element."

Daisuke Takahashi of Japan was third with 74.51, followed by Americans Johnny Weir (74.26) and Evan Lysacek (73.49), defending world champion Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland (72.70) and Canada's Chris Mabee (71.33) in seventh.

Canadian Emanuel Sandhu was 11th with 69.42.

The free-skating final is Thursday.

Buttle did a triple-triple combo during his program, but was outperformed by Joubert, who pulled off a quad-triple during his stint on the ice. The Frenchman, the silver medallist at this competition in 2004 and 2006, was the only skater to cleanly land a quad-triple combo.

Has momentum

Buttle said he wants to build on the momentum of what he felt was a strong short program.

"Absolutely," said the 25-year-old native of Smooth Rock Falls, Ont. "That's my main goal.

"I've been skating really well all week and getting better and better so I want to stay in that direction."

Canadian coach Lee Barkell was pleased with how Buttle and Mabee performed.

"It was a very good day," said Barkell.

"For Chris, that was awesome — going out in his debut and doing what he's capable of," said Barkell. "He's feeling very confident now.

"He's got nothing to lose."

Mabee, 21, of Tillsonburg, Ont., is competing at the world championships for the first time, but he looked like an old pro Wednesday, landing all his jumps and getting in all eight required elements.

Sandhu optimistic

"I just went out there and had fun, had a blast, and just went for it," he said. "This is what I've been doing in practice, so I'm just happy to put it out in competition — the most important one of the year."

Even though he sits 11th, Sandhu feels he can still reach the medal podium.

"You look at the points and third to 11th, where I am, is like five points and that's only one triple jump in the long program," said the 26-year-old native of Richmond Hill, Ont. "There is a chance for a medal still.

"What it's about now is having a good practice [Thursday], making sure I'm in a zone and putting it down."

In Wednesday's pairs free-skating final, Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China won their third world title.

Teammates Qing Pang and Jian Tong, last year's gold medallists, earned the silver and Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won bronze

Valerie Marcoux of Gatineau, Que., and Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., fifth after the short program, finished sixth.

Canadian champions Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison, seventh after the short, finished seventh overall.

Canada's No. 3 pair, Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay, who were 11th after the short, were the best Canadians in Wednesday's free skating final.They wound up 10th overall.

With files from the Canadian Press

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