ZAGREB, Croatia — Canada's Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha won the gold medal in ice dancing on Saturday at the world junior figure skating championships.
Lajoie and Lagha, in their fourth appearance at the world juniors, scored an international personal best of 176.10, placing first in both the rhythm dance on Thursday and the free dance.
"It was our best performance of the year," said Lagha, 19, from Greenfield Park, Que. "We had to stay focused and not worry about the result and that's what we did."
It is only the second time Canada has won world junior gold in ice dancing. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took the crown in 2006.
"It was pretty stressful to skate last against such a strong field," said Lajoie, 18, from Boucherville, Que. "Still, it went super well."
Russian couples completed the podium with Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Nikita Nazarov second at 171.22 and Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko third at 170.43.
It was only back in December that Lajoie and Lagha placed fourth at the junior Grand Prix final.
"The world juniors are tough to win and they were rewarded for their hard work," said Lajoie and Lagha's coach Romain Haguenauer. "They showed mastery and maturity, they never panicked. They were clearly the best team and that' how you win championships."
Alicia Fabbri of Terrebonne, Que., and Paul Ayer of Brossard climbed from 13th to ninth.
"We were very pleased with that performance," said Fabbri. "After nationals we intensified our training and focused on the details more. It really paid off in the end."
It was a 1-2 Russian finish in women's competition. Alexandra Trusova won the gold, Anna Shcherbakova was second and Ting Cui of the United States third.
Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., soared from 16th after the short program to 10th.
The Canadian Press