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Gilles, Poirier headline Canadian figure skating team for worlds in March

Ice dance duo Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier highlight the Canadian team headed to the ISU figure skating world championships, revealed by Skate Canada on Sunday.

The competition is set to take place March 20-26 in Saitama, Japan.

Fellow Canadian ice dance duo Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen are also set to compete.

Keegan Messing, who won national gold on Saturday, will represent on the men’s side.

Messing’s emotional farewell skate in Oshawa, Ont., on the same day his wife Lane Hodson was due to give birth to their second child, capped the competition at Tribute Communities Centre. 

Women’s national champion Madeline Schizas will be the lone Canadian in the women’s event.

The 19-year-old from Oakville, Ont., held off hard-charging Kaiya Ruiter, 16, to win her second Canadian singles title on Saturday in Oshawa, Ont.

Schizas, meanwhile, said she felt the pressure as the defending champion.

“I knew that the skaters ahead of me had put pressure on me to put out a skate that maybe didn’t need to be perfect but did need to be a fight from start to finish. And that was difficult,” Schizas said. “I was standing backstage and I was like, ‘Oh gosh, this is not going to be a walk in the park.’

“I’m just happy that it was a fight from start to finish. The end of that program wasn’t easy but I pushed right to the end and I’m happy with that.”

Schizas won a legion of fans with her impressive Olympic debut last year in Beijing, where her short program in the team event propelled Canada into the final and eventually to a fourth-place finish. In pairs, Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar, Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud, in addition to Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps will represent Canada.

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