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Richmond skaters vying for podium spot at U.S. skating competition

Wesley Chiu and Liam Kapeikis are making their senior Grand Prix debut.
Wesley Chiu (left) and Liam Kaipeikis at the Richmond Oval skating rink.

Two Richmond skaters will be competing in the ISU Grand Prix in the U.S.A this weekend.

Richmond Connaught Skating Club athletes Wesley Chiu, 17,  and Liam Kapeikis, 18, are both making their debut in the senior Grand Prix while competing for a spot on the podium at the Skate America event in Norwood, U.S.A.

The event is taking place inside the Skating Club of Boston from Oct. 20 to 23.

Despite both being part of the same skating club, the athletes will be competing against each other with Chiu representing Canada and Kapeikis, the United States.

Both male skaters competed in the Junior World Championships together and said the dynamics will be "quite similar" at the Grand Prix.

"It's nice to see someone you know every day when you're both training for the same competition," said Chiu.

When asked how their conditions were as the competition approaches, Kapeikis said it's "early in the season" to determine that.

"The Grand Prix events are kind of the first bigger events of the season for the year," said Kapeikis.

"It's maybe not fully what it's going to be, but it's still very strong and I feel prepared for this event."

Chiu echoed Kapeikis, adding that "it's time to get back into top shape" for the season.

However, Chiu said the audience's expectations for him this season will be more than last year.

"Last year, I was kind of like a new face to the international scene. And this year, I will probably have to face a bit more expectation being put on me from other people considering the amount of success I had," explained Chiu.

Kapeikis and Chiu told the Richmond News they are trying to stay off social media to mentally prepare for the competition while combatting "some nerves" before the event.

"The biggest thing that is to worry about is the amount of publicity that could come along with (the competition)," said Kapeikis.

"(We're) staying off social media and trying not to look at things where people are talking about us because not everything that everyone says is positive. So we're just trying not to let that get to us."

The two young athletes are looking forward to performing in front of an arena full of audience members and fans and being "alongside some of the best skaters in the world."

"We will be on this senior circuit now and it's all the top contenders in the world, so we're quite excited for it," they said.