For Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel, who came third at the European Championships, the hope of a top place at the figure skating world championships in Saitama, Japan, ended after the short program.
"I had quite a bit of back problems during preparation. We're happy to be here at all," said Hocke after finishing 15th with 60.89 points. "We would have liked to build on the performances at the European Championships. Maybe we can still make up a few places." Hocke could only compete with painkillers.
Things went better for the World Cup debutants Alissa Jefimowa from Oberstdorf and her Berlin partner Ruben Blommaert, who finished seventh with 65.23 points. "It was the best performance of the season. That was okay," he said. The decision in pair skating will be made on Thursday (3:00 a.m. CET) in the freestyle.
To the delight of the hosts, the Japanese Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (80.72 points) took the lead on the opening day of the World Championships. The defending champions Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) came second ahead of the European champions Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii from Italy. Like Belarus, Russia, which has been leading in pair skating for years, is excluded because of the war of aggression in Ukraine.