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Ice skating: Britons slip up in qualifiers

BRITAIN MADE a poor start on the opening day of the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki with both Clive Shorten and Neil Wilson failing to qualify for the second and third stages of the men's competition.

Shorten was too disappointed to talk but Sorelle Kayne, the British team manager, said the 25-year-old from London was "shattered" by his poor performance which earned him marks of 3.8-4.8 for technical merit and 4.2-4.9 for presentation.

Wilson, a 20-year-old from Northern Ireland, gained marks of 3.6-4.8 for technical merit and 3.8-5.1 for presentation but was more philosophical about his failure. "I'm quite pleased about the way I skated," he said. "I started a bit tentatively but then eased up. I'm just glad to be here after a full year off ice with injuries."

Elsewhere in the competition, Russia led the way as expected, with Yevgeny Plushenko winning one qualifying group and the defending world champion, Alexei Yagudin, winning the other. Michael Weiss, the American champion, came in second to Plushenko and the former Olympic champion, Alexei Urmanov, was second to Yagudin.

A record-breaking day saw six skaters complete the four-revolution jump, the most ever in a competition.