Scots ice dancer Lewis Gibson lying in medal position in Japanese Grand Prix NHK Trophy

Scottish ice dancer Lewis Gibson and partner Lilah Fear said they were “proud” of their performance as they go into the free dance final of their final Grand Prix of the season in a medal position.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson compete in the ice rhythm dance competition during the Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy in Tokyo.

Prestwick-born skater Mr Gibson and Ms Fear finished the rhythm dance at the NHK Trophy in Japan in third place with 76.43 points – just 0.03 points ahead of Spanish rivals Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin.

The couple scored almost five points higher than during their rhythm dance performance at the Skate Canada Grand Prix last month, when they finished the competition in a disappointing seventh place.

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Russian skaters Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are currently in first place with a score of 86.33, however American competitors Madison Cock and Evan Bates are lying in a very close second with 86.02.

Speaking at a press conference after the event, Mr Gibson heralded a return to live skating competitions after the pandemic.

He said: “Even going out on the warm up, they called our name and we saw so many Great Britain flags. It’s so special for us from a small country.”

Ms Fear added: “Having a crowd is something that we missed so much and it just felt like being home again. Just being out there with everyone cheering us on was such an honour and privilege and something we don’t take for granted anymore. We just had the best time, a little technical error in the blues, but other than that, we were really proud of our performance. It felt like a step up from Skate Canada.

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Ice dancer Lewis Gibson and partner Lilah Fear finish seventh in Skate Canada

The couple are this year skating to music by Kiss as part of the street dance theme for this year’s ice dance season.

Mr Gibson said: “We love to entertain and perform, so the Rhythm Dance theme was perfect for us. Our choreographer, Romain Haguenauer, is very open minded for our ideas and we try to come up with something new every season. Our creativity comes out mostly in the lifts.”

Ms Fear paid tribute to her partner, who she teamed up with in 2016. The pair train at the prestigious Ice Academy of Montreal in Canada.

She said: “Lewis really loves competing and he has really opened my eyes to the joys and celebration of competing. We have such a deep friendship and bond and we’re partners in crime and it’s really fun to go out there together and do what we love, it’s a true honour.”

Mr Gibson said: “It’s hard to go out there and compete, there’s so much going on and so much happening, but when I get to look at Lilah and she’s so grounded, that’s how we get to enjoy competing as we have such different strengths.”

The NHK Trophy is Mr Gibson and Ms Fear’s second and final Grand Prix this year, in a season when skaters are focusing on the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February.

The couple will compete for the bronze medal in the free dance tomorrow morning.

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