Figure skating: Russian pairs among leaders in Los Angeles

AFP Photo / Jewel SAMAD
Russia's ice-dancers Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin have won a compulsory dance at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championship in Los Angeles and now lead the pack in the event.

The Russians earned 40.77 points on Tuesday for their outstanding performance of Paso Doble leaving behind Americans Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto with 39.65 points.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada finished third.

Another Russian pair, Yana Khokhlova and Sergey Novitsky, are currently fifth before Thursday's original dance and free dance on Friday.

In the pairs skating short program, Russia’s Yuko Kawaguchi and Aleksander Smirnov failed to take the lead despite earning 68.94 points for their smooth and flawless performance of 'The Swan' late Tuesday. But they were still outskated by European champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany.

With the free skate scheduled for Wednesday, China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao came third. Russia's Maria Mukhortova and Maksim Trankov are not far behind.