Wenjing Sui and Cong Han lead the pairs event after the short programme ©Getty Images

China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han lead the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships pairs competition after today’s short programme at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

The two-time World Championship silver medallists produced side by side triple toes, a throw triple flip and triple twist during their routine.

Their performance was rewarded with a tally of 80.75 points by the judges, just 0.10 shy of their personal best score for the programme.

It would prove the ideal start for the defending champions, with the pair seeking a fourth Four Continents crown.

"This is the first competition for us this season and while we enjoyed being back and feeling the vibe of the competition, we were a little nervous," said Sui.

"I think we could have skated better than we did."

Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang made it a Chinese one-two at the end of the short programme, with the duo achieving a score of 75.20.

The pairing are also set to feature at next week’s Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, but their thoughts will first be on attempting to close on their compatriots in Gangneung.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir lead the ice dance competition ©Getty Images
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir lead the ice dance competition ©Getty Images

They will also have to fend off the threat of two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who lie third after a fall reduced their score to 74.31 points.

Canada do have the lead in the ice dance competition, with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir topping the short dance standings by scoring 79.75 points.

The ISU Grand Prix Final champions are followed by the United States’ Maia and Alex Shibutani, after the brother and sister team received a score of 76.59 from the judges.

They will hope to overhaul the deficit in the free dance, as the Americans seek to retain their title.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, also of the United States, currently complete the top three having scored 74.67.

Gabrielle Daleman of Canada leads the women’s singles event after the short programme, as her performance was given a score of 68.25 by the judges.

Her team-mate Kaetlyn Osmond lies second on 68.21, while Russia’s Elizabet Tursynbayeva occupies third place with a score of 66.87.

Competition will continue tomorrow with the ice dance event drawing to a close, as well as the men’s singles short programme.

The Championships, which are acting as a Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic test event, is only open to skaters from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania.

It seeks to provide athletes from these continents a competition of similar standard to the European Figure Skating Championships.