Figure Skating

World junior champ Kamila Valieva wins Cup of Russia Stage 5 in Moscow

Valieva wins competition affected by coronavirus withdrawals by 56 points, landing two quadruple toe loops. Petr Gummenik won the men's event; Mishina/Galliamov the pairs.

By ZK Goh ·

World junior champion Kamila Valieva comfortably won the fifth stage of the Cup of Russia figure skating series in Moscow in a competition decimated by withdrawals forced by coronavirus diagnoses to Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Alena Kostornaia.

The event should have seen a rematch between 2015 world champion Tuktamysheva and reigning European champion Kostornaia after the former won last month's Rostelecom Cup.

But with neither in the field, Valieva – easily the most technically-gifted of the seven ladies' skaters – eased to victory, landing two quadruple jumps.

With coach Eteri Tutberidze watching on – and no fans in the stands, unlike other recent events held in Russia – Valieva built on her nearly-19-point lead from Saturday's short program.

Skating to Ravel's Boléro, the setting to the famous Sarajevo 1984 ice dance gold medal for Torvill and Dean, Valieva opened with a pair of quadruple toe loops (the first in combination with a double toe).

Although she fell on a triple Lutz in the second half of her program, she subsequently landed the jump in combination with a triple toe to close out her jumping passes.

She was met with wide smiles from Tutberidze, fellow coach Sergei Dudakov, and choreographer Daniil Gleichengauz as she came off the ice.

Valieva received a free skate score of 168.66 points for a total of 254.86 points.

Ksenia Tsibinova was second, some 56 points back on 198.44; Anastasia Tarakanova was third (195.27).

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In the men's event, Petr Gumennik overcame a fall on a quad Salchow to mount a 10-point comeback and clinch victory.

The world junior bronze medallist turned out of his opening quad Salchow and fell on his second – the opening jump of a planned combination, resulting in his jump being marked repeated – but otherwise put in some nice jumps, including a triple Axel-triple toe combination which was the highlight of his routine.

He scored 171.06 for a total of 247.14, around half a point ahead of runner-up Egor Rukhin (246.49).

Overnight leader Alexey Erokhov, skating to Josh Groban's You Raise Me Up, fell on his opening quad Salchow, popped an Axel in the second half of his program, and turned out of a repeated triple loop jump – in addition to being marked down for his last Change Foot Combination Spin for not having the basic camel position. That dropped him back to third on 226.76 points.

Earlier, Anastasia Mishina and Alexandr Galliamov won the pairs' event.

Up next is the Russian nationals, scheduled from 23–27 December in Chelyabinsk. While the Cup of Russia was meant to serve as a qualifying event for those championships, the Russian Figure Skating Federation is expected to relax selection rules due to the impact of both Covid-19 and injuries to national skaters.