Home stars Samarin, Trusova win Russian figure skating Grand Prix


Moscow (AFP) - Russian Alexander Samarin led a clean sweep of the podium for the home nation at the figure skating Grand Prix event in Moscow on Saturday, as Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno could only finish fourth.

Samarin produced a spectacular free skate to win with a total of 264.45 points, having also posted the highest score in Friday's short programme.

The 21-year-old, who took the European championships silver medal in Minsk earlier this year, saw off compatriot Dmitri Aliev by 4.57 points.

"Even though it wasn't my best performance, I'm overwhelmed with emotions," Samarin, who booked a place in next month's Grand Prix Final in Turin with victory, told isu.org.

"There were mistakes, big mistakes and we'll work on it.

"But I'm glad to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. That is not a bad result for the first half of the season."

Aliev's strong free skate to Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" earned 169.24 points, enough to secure second place ahead of Makar Ignatov.

Japanese star Uno's difficult season continued as he ended 12.21 points behind Samarin overall.

The 21-year-old, who took 2018 Olympic silver behind Yuzuru Hanyu, was looking to bounce back after falling several times and posting his lowest-ever finish of eighth in Grenoble earlier this month.

But he could only muster 164.95 points on Saturday and failed to climb onto the podium after his disappointing short programme.

Rising star Alexandra Trusova overhauled two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva in the free skate to win the women's competition.

Medvedeva held a 2.72-point lead over her fellow Russian following Friday's short programme.

However, the 15-year-old Trusova upstaged the 2016 and 2017 world champion with a sparkling routine that netted her 160.26 points, easily bumping her above Medvedeva.

Trusova finished with a combined score of 234.47 despite missing her opening quadruple Salchow while Medvedeva posted 225.76 points after tallying 148.83 in the free skate.

For Trusova, Russia's "quad queen", it was a second senior Grand Prix victory having triumphed on her debut at this level last month at Skate Canada.

"I am very happy to have won my second Grand Prix event and to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. However, I made some mistakes in short and free programme and I'll continue to work to skate two clean programmes next time," Trusova said.

"I would like to compete with the men, because they can do a quad in the short programme and we are not allowed to."

American Mariah Bell came third with 205.67 points.

Russian duo Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii clinched the pairs title ahead of Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov ensured there were Russian champions in all four categories as they took the ice dance crown.

The circuit heads to Japan next weekend for the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, the final leg before the Grand Prix Final in Turin from December 5-8.

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