Evgenia Medvedeva picked for World Figure Skating Championships

Russian Figure Skating Federation confirms double world champion Medvedeva will go to Saitama with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva angry at missing out.

Evgenia Medvedeva will aim to win a third world title next month after being named to Russia's team for the ISU World Championships in Saitama.

The Olympic figure skating silver medallist won last weekend's Russian Cup ahead of 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva in what was billed as an unofficial skate-off for the Worlds.

There was confusion on Tuesday with the Russian Figure Skating Federation (FSFR) submitting the same three names - Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, recent European champion Sofia Samodurova and Stanislava Konstantinova - for Japan.

On the ISU entry list for the World Championships, taking place from 18-24 March, Medvedeva and Tuktamysheva were listed as 'Substitute Entries' alongside Zagitova, Samodurova and Konstantinova.

But on Wednesday, the FSFR confirmed the final line-up on their website with Konstantinova making way for Medvedeva and Tuktamysheva remaining an alternate.

Of the 27 members of the coaching council, 19 voted for Medvedeva against seven for Tuktamysheva with one abstaining.

Coach Nina Mazer voted for Medvedeva. "She has been part of the team for the past two, three years. I understand that Liza has been part of the team for a long time as well but everything was decided based on the Russian Cup. It was organised in order to determine who will go."

"It’s hard for me to say in which shape the athletes are in because I haven’t see the final of the Russian Cup with my own eyes. In our Federation we have specialists whose job it is to decide this. I don’t doubt the professionalism of the Russian Figure skating Federation, which determined the results," said double Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko

After her victory in Veliky Novgorod at the weekend, Medvedeva posted on Instagram that she believes she can win a third world title if selected.

Friends, I just want to say that I am going to every competition thinking of victory. This season is no different. If I am selected to take part in the World Championships, my goal is to be at my best in Saitama. Thank you for your support. Your Zhenya. - Evgenia Medvedeva on Instagram

Medvedeva joy, Tuktamysheva woe

It represents a huge turnaround for Medvedeva who has taken time to adjust to life in Toronto since joining Brian Orser after the Olympics.

The 19-year-old failed to make the Grand Prix Final and was only seventh in the Russian nationals after a disappointing short program.

But victory in the Russian Cup gave her a good chance of going to Saitama, with Orser telling 360tv.ru he was delighted at the decision.

"I am very happy now! The selection was an interesting and honest process. Now we get back to work with a clear picture. See you all in Japan." - Brian Orser speaking to 360tv.ru

Orser confident Medvedeva will return to form:

Orser confident Medvedeva will return to form: "There's no quick fix"

Tuktamysheva had strong claims for the third spot in Saitama, taking bronze in the Grand Prix Final behind Rika Kihira and Zagitova, before being sidelined with pneumonia.

She and Konstantinova had been named for next week's 2019 Winter Universiade in the Russian town of Krasnoyarsk.

But Tuktamysheva clearly felt she still had a shot at the World Championships, and was quick to voice her dismay on social media.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva at the 2018-19 Grand Prix Final in Vancouver
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva at the 2018-19 Grand Prix Final in VancouverElizaveta Tuktamysheva at the 2018-19 Grand Prix Final in Vancouver

End of the confusion

The Russian Figure Skating Federation (FSFR) had to submit their squad for the World Championships on Monday (25 February), the day after the Russian Cup.

They put forward the same names - Zagitova, Samodurova and Konstantinova with Medvedeva and Tuktamysheva as alternates - for Saitama with FSFR President Alexander Gorshkov quoted by gazeta.ru as saying "there was no time for a detailed discussion of the composition of the national team".

But he added, "ISU Regulations allow us to make changes to the starting line-up before the start of the World Championships."

FSFR general director Alexander Kogan suggested no decision had been made over the three selections stating, "We have not divided the composition between main and alternate. The entire list is in alphabetical order."

While Zagitova always looked assured of her place, her performances have been below par in recent weeks.

Alina Zagitova with coach Eteri Tutberidze (L) after her free skate at the European Championships in Minsk
Alina Zagitova with coach Eteri Tutberidze (L) after her free skate at the European Championships in MinskAlina Zagitova with coach Eteri Tutberidze (L) after her free skate at the European Championships in Minsk

Having started the season superbly, she suffered her first defeat of the 2018-19 campaign in Vancouver before finishing fifth in the Russian nationals where junior skaters filled the podium places.

Anna Shcherbakova won from Alexandra Trusova with Alena Kostornaia taking third place.

But with all three too young to skate at the Europeans and Worlds, the spots went to Konstantinova, Zagitova and Samodurova who finished fourth, fifth and sixth in Saransk.

And Zagitova was surprisingly beaten by Samodurova in January's European Championships in Minsk where Konstantinova took fourth place.

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