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25 Dec, 2021 18:44

‘Otherworldly’: Figure skating prodigy Valieva dazzles to win Russian Championships (VIDEO)

‘Otherworldly’: Figure skating prodigy Valieva dazzles to win Russian Championships (VIDEO)

Kamila Valieva produced a spellbinding performance to win the ladies' singles title at the Russian figure skating championships, sending out another statement that she will be the star to beat at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Building on her score of 90.38 from her short program at the Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, the 15-year-old Valieva followed up with another flawless display to rack up 193.10 points for her free skate on Saturday to amass a total of 283.48.

That was a full 35 points ahead of second-placed Alexandra Trusova, 17, who finished with 248.65.

Bronze went to Anna Shcherbakova, also 17, who ended with 239.56 points for her two routines.

All three on the podium in St. Petersburg are coached by the renowned Eteri Tutberidze and seem set to contend the European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, in January, although confirmation of the Russian team is expected to come on Sunday. 

RT

Former world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva – considered the grand dame of active Russian figure skaters at the age of 25 – recovered from a disappointing short skate on Friday to electrify the home crowd with her free program, although it was only enough for her to finish seventh overall.   

The day and the event firmly belonged to Valieva.

Skating to the strains of ‘Bolero’ by Maurice Ravel, the Kazan-born skater enraptured the crowd, adding the Russian Championship title to the Grand Prix success she enjoyed in Canada and at the Rostelecom Cup earlier in the season.

While not officially recognized as a world record because it was at a national championships, Valieva’s score on Saturday would have easily eclipsed her official world-best ISU mark of 272.71 registered in Sochi at the end of November.

Online, fans and pundits were in thrall to the young star’s prodigious showing with a routine that included three quads.

Valieva’s performance was described as “otherworldly” as observers widely tipped her as the red-hot favorite for Olympic gold.

The overall level of competition among Russian women's stars also staggered figure skating fans.  

"Today I felt huge support from the crowd. I am happy that I was able to gather myself even though I was shaking inside," Valieva said.

Ominously for her rivals, the youngster added that she was aiming to reach even greater heights moving forward. 

Valieva is nailed-on for a spot on the Russian team in Beijing, while the remaining two places are up for grabs with Trusova and Shcherbakova heavily fancied.

Many fans, however, will be desperate for Tuktamysheva to grace the ice for a maiden Olympic appearance in Beijing to cap a remarkable career. 

RT

A final decision will be taken after the European Championships in Tallinn, which run from January 10 to 16. 

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