Fernandez on track for third men's figure skating gold in Helsinki

Helsinki (AFP) –


Spain's Javier Fernandez hit two quadruple jumps to get his bid for a third straight men's title off the mark Thursday as Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu trailed at the world figure skating championships.

The 26-year-old from Madrid nailed all his elements in his short programme to the classical Spanish guitar composition Malaguena to post a personal best 109.05 points in Helsinki's Hartwall Arena.

Japanese teenager Shoma Uno surged to second place with 104.86 with veteran former three-time winner Patrick Chan of Canada sitting third on 102.13 going into Saturday's free skating final.

All three achieved career best scores.

Hanyu -- bidding to recapture the title he won in 2014 -- botched his second quad salchow jump landing on his knee to Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' and is placed fifth on 98.39.

"There was a lot of pressure, every year there are a lot of skaters trying to get in on the party," said Fernandez.

"The fact that there was amazing skating out there gives me more confidence. I'm one of the older skaters but to be here and competitive gives me confidence for the years ahead."

Uno, 19, also skated flawlessly to 'Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra' including two soaring quadruple jumps, as he looks to a first world podium finish.

"I'm still in the process of learning," said the former world junior champion. "I experienced many failures last season."

Fernandez captured a fifth consecutive European title in January but has had a mixed season finishing fourth in the Grand Prix final.

The Spaniard is bidding for a third straight world title -- last achieved by Chan, 26, between 2011-2013.

Olympic silver medallist Chan opted for just one quad in his skate to The Beatles.

"I knew what I needed to get the marks I deserve," he said.

"I've been waiting a long time to break 100 points. To do it at a world championships is an accomplishment.

"Experience is my advantage compared to the others."

Hanyu -- who holds the world record 110.95 in the short programme -- has had to settle for silver the past two years behind Toronto training partner Fernandez.

Despite his errors the 22-year-old got a standing ovation from the large contingent of his adoring Japanese fans in Helsinki with flowers, and soft toys raining down onto the ice after his two-and-a-half minute presentation.

But despite the applause the Japanese superstar slipped behind 19-year-old Chinese skater Jin Boyang (98.64) with 17-year-old American quad-jumping sensation Nathan Chen sixth (97.33) after failing on his triple axel.

The competition continues on Thursday with China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong bidding for a first pairs gold after twice finishing runners-up.