On the second day of the Russian Grand Prix stage in Kazan The name of the champion of the Olympic team tournament, Kamila Valieva, was again mentioned in the context of the judges. But it was no longer about the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. Correspondent – with details.
Best “tailor”Sunday's competition day began with what many considered a sensation. Russian champion Evgeniy Semenenko was unable to defend his lead after the short program and lost the title to Vladislav Dikidzhi. Moreover, he lost without a chance: the winner cleanly skated the free program with three quadruple jumps, and the best skater of the country “messed up” in the first half of the program, doing a butterfly instead of a quadruple loop and falling on the sheepskin coat. Only a confident ending allowed Semenenko not to fall below second place.
As for Dikiji, he has actually been around for quite some time and is known not only for his unusual surname (which, by the way, means “tailor” in Turkish, and the skater’s father is Bulgarian). Vladislav was once the winner of the Russian Junior Championship, then he constantly attacked the podium at junior tournaments at various levels, periodically rising to the highest level.
But at adult tournaments, Dikidzhi, who trains at the St. Petersburg school “Star Ice” under the leadership of Oleg Tataurov, has, of course, the most significant success. Moreover, at the beginning of the season there were no special prerequisites for him: at the Panin memorial in early October, the skater was only sixth with a not very outstanding final score of 250 points. However, for the tournament in Kazan, the “tailor” sewed up all the holes in the programs, thanks to which he added almost 40 points to his result a month ago.
“You have to get high, go out on the ice in a good mood. I’m a bit of a nervous person in this regard. I can’t do it,” the champion honestly admitted, noting that, by and large, he didn’t understand what happened. “On the one hand, I work very hard “I was training. In fact, I had to show a good result, but I didn’t think that everything would turn out so good.”
There was also a castling in the fight for third place. Makar Ignatov, who was in this position after the first day of the tournament, completed only one of his four quadruple jumps in the free program, and also “made fun of” (there is a jargon for the word “butterfly”) a triple flip. Gleb Lutfullin, who was pursuing him, was also not perfect, but on the whole he performed his technical set better and taxied to the podium.
Valieva was let down by the coaching staff. By the way, he soon appeared on the arena again, but in the role of a coach. The head of his group, Evgeniy Rukavitsyn, instructed one student to take another student Maria Talalaikina onto the ice as a kind of experiment. It turned out pretty well – the figure skater, who went to seek her sporting happiness in Italy and returned to her homeland in St. Petersburg last year, made it into the top six. If we take into account the strong composition of the Kazan stage, such a result may motivate us to fight further and not end our career, despite Maria’s thoughts of this kind.
But the most anticipated thing, of course, on this day was Valieva’s performance. She was deservedly considered the favorite of the tournament, but already in the short program it became clear that her victory would not be easy. At least from a technical point of view, Sofya Muravyova and Alina Gorbacheva skated no worse, and the Olympic champion's four-point lead was not at all decisive.
All three of the above-mentioned skaters, plus Daria Sadkova, entered quadruple jumps in the free program, but none of them submitted. Sadkova tried to do a quadruple toe loop, Gorbachev – a quadruple Salchow, Valieva – also a toe loop, and everything was unsuccessful. But Muravyova relied on the purity of the box office, which brought her almost 152 points. The amount for Kamila, who completed her performance, is not critical at all – even an ordinary performance of the program with triple jumps would have brought her victory.
But in the end, drama unfolded. First, Valieva fell on a quadruple jump, which, obviously, has not yet been restored in the same way as the triple axel. Then she performed the rest of the program without any major mistakes, but then the judges intervened and were in no hurry to announce the scores. The honorary vice-president of the International Skating Union and highly experienced referee Alexander Lakernik even joined the discussions, although he was not part of the team.
About five minutes later the verdict was made. Firstly, Valieva was cut to zero the cost of two jumps in one of the two sequences, since there can only be one similar element in the program. Secondly, the passage on the ice in the choreographic step sequence was counted as a fall. And since the Olympic champion had two falls, taking into account the torn sheepskin coat, her scores for the program components were also noticeably reduced.
“In the end, Valieva ended up only fourth, and her gap from Sadkova, who took third place, was less than a point. As the source said, hot on the heels of the Olympic champion’s coaching staff wanted to protest the result, but in the end the table with the tournament results remained unchanged. “Protests against refereeing are not accepted,” Lakernik told reporters, explaining what, in fact, the referees did not like. Everything that is mentioned above.
But even if suddenly the judges had not counted Kamila’s passage in the choreography as a fall (although the photo clearly shows that at that moment she was completely lying on the fifth point, which is prohibited by the rules), Valieva would have risen only to third or, at most, second place. The main loss in points occurred due to an extra sequence, and this is a question for the coaching staff – it turns out that they did not know about this clause of the rules, if they initially announced two such elements?
In any case, Sofya Muravyova, who skated clean on both days of the tournament, should certainly be congratulated on her well-deserved victory. And tell us about such a sweet nuance: on the first day of the tournament in the mixed zone, the figure skater gave each journalist a small toy sewn by her mother. The press representatives were so moved that the next day they thanked Sophia with a huge bouquet of flowers.
If only athletes and journalists always communicated like this! In contrast, in Kazan, unfortunately, Valieva’s reluctance to talk to the media was revealed. On the first day of the tournament, through the press attache of the federation, she announced that she would not answer questions on the topic of the process in CAS – despite the fact that, without exaggeration, millions of people worried about her in everything were waiting for at least some comment from her after the hearings world. At the same time, the figure skater did not answer other questions very willingly. Well, on the second day Valieva simply didn’t come out to the journalists. Yes, she was not among the winners, therefore, according to the new rules, she is not obliged to – now only the top three are brought to the press. But, it seems to me, this was the case when this rule could have been neglected.