The Russian figure skating squad has taken the lead after the first competitive day at the World Team Trophy in Japan, with the women’s event dominated by Russian stars who pulled off a stunning performance on Thursday.

Newly crowned world champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov gave Russia an early lead after posting the highest score for their rhythm dance, earning 86.66 points, a figure which proved to be insurmountable for the other competitors.

The women’s short programs were next up on the ice, with Russian stars Anna Shcherbakova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva confirming their status as tournament favorites by delivering flawless performances.

Tuktamysheva immaculately landed her signature triple axel to record the season’s best score, 80.35 points.

2021 world gold medalist Shcherbakova who performed immediately after her teammate, improved on Tuktamysheva’s result, receiving 81.07 points from the judges.

Teams from Japan and the US managed to shorten Russia’s lead during the men’s competition, with Nathan Chen and Yuzuru Hanyu executing brilliant performances, and Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada only finishing in fifth place.

After the first competitive day, Russia sits in first at 49 points, with a tiny two-point advantage over the US, while hosts Japan are in third place with 42 points. (RT)