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Connaught skater crowned Canadian Novice champion

Richmond's Wesley Chiu thrives on national stage with career best skates leading to dominating victory

Wesley Chiu sure knows how to make an exit as a Novice level competitive skater.

The Connaught Skating Club standout captured the Novice Men’s gold medal on Tuesday at the 2019 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Saint John, New Burnswick. 

Given Chiu won last month’s Skate Challenge Canada qualifier event in Edmonton, his position on top of the podium was hardly a surprise yet it was the margin of victory in the field of 18 skaters that impressed many.

The Grade 8 Richmond Christian student finished nearly 30 points ahead of another BC skater — Shuma Mugii — with a career best 146.83 total. That’s 12 points better than his winning score in Edmonton (134.43) which also was a personal best.

“It feels great. This is a big reliever for me,” said Chiu. “The whole year I have been thinking about this competition. Not (by that wide of margin) but I really wanted to win.”

Chiu’s two-year run at Novice began with a bronze at 2018 Skate Canada Challenge in Quebec thanks to a terrific free skate that vaulted him eight spots in the final standings. He finished ninth in his Nationals debut in Vancouver a year ago.

His potential earned him the opportunity to skate internationally for Canada and he earned bronze last July at a competition in Wisconsin. The momentum and plenty of hard work carried him into this season where a gold at BC/Yukon Sectionals was followed by two more in the national events. Now he is ready to take his promising career to the Junior Men’s level next season.

“He works very hard,” said Connaught competitive head coach Keegan Murphy who joined his prize student in New Brunswick. “He is really enjoyable to coach and this is going to give him a lot of confidence for the future.”