Skater Loena Hendrickx on course to win Belgium's first individual world title

After an outstanding performance in Montreal on Wednesday night, figure skater Loena Hendrickx appears to be on course for her third World Championship medal and could become the first Belgian to win an individual title at the event.

The judges rewarded her performance with a personal best score and provisional first place. Fellow Belgian Nina Pinzarrone, in 11th place after the first day, has a chance of finishing in the top 10, which was her goal before the competition.

After the short programme, Hendrickx leads the overall standings with 76.98 points, ahead of American Isabeau Levito on 73.73 and South Korean Haein Lee on 73.55. The final standings will be decided after the free programme on Friday.

Standing ovation

Hendrickx, the reigning European champion who took silver and bronze at the last two worlds - Belgium’s first singles medals - landed a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, double axel and triple lutz to take a 3.25 point lead over Levito. She received a standing ovation for her performance.

"It's good that we have a real team now. I wouldn't have made it without the physio and the mental coach"

In the run-up to the World Championships, Hendrickx had faced a number of obstacles. A sore hip limited her training. After her performance on Wednesday, the overjoyed 24-year-old said the adrenaline and painkillers had helped and said she felt like she had already won "a little gold medal".

"It's good that we have a real team now," she said. "I wouldn't have made it without the physio and the mental coach."

Talking about Friday's programme, she was relaxed: "In every competition, something new and surprising happens. We'll see how it goes."



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