Medvedeva leads Russian sweep at European figure skating championships

Sabine Colpart
AFP

Bratislava (AFP) - Evgenia Medvedeva confirmed her status as the new star of women's skating as she led a Russian podium sweep at the European figure skating championships on Friday.

The 16-year-old took her first European gold ahead of teammates Elena Radionova, 17, and Anna Pogorilaya, 17, after the free skating final in Bratislava.

She led all the way, scoring an overall 215.45 points with Radionova (209.99) and Pogorilaya (187.05) having to settle for silver and bronze respectively for a second straight year.

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The Moscow schoolgirl has taken the senior circuit by storm this season after winning the world junior title last year.

She won the prestigious ISU Grand Prix Final in December where she achieved the third best overall score in history 224.54 points.

She then went on to win the Russian national title ahead of Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova and reigning world and European champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Russia's women have been starring in recent international competitions, with Friday's podium sweep their second consecutive.

It confirmed a return to the glory days for Russia who swept the women's event at Europeans for four consecutive years between 1999 and 2002.

- Volosozhar, Trankov lead pairs -

Russia look set to hold the pairs title with Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov earlier brushing aside injuries to lead the short programme.

The former world champions won three European gold medals between 2012 and 2014, but sat out last season because of injuries, and have not competed in a major competition since their Olympic gold in Sochi.

It was however far from a flamboyant return for Volosozhar, 29, and 32-year-old Trankov, who have skated together for six years and married last August, as she was recovering from flu and Trankov the effects of a sore back.

But their Bollywood Selection nevertheless kept them top with 79.77 -- 4.23 points ahead of promising new pairing, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany.

"Maybe it's because of our age that we have to contend with various injuries," said Trankov.

"Our performance today wasn't the best but good enough to take first place."

Volosozhar added: "We added new elements. We're not really happy with this programme but we hope to do much better with the free (skate)."

Savchenko, 32, and French skater Massot, 27, teamed up in 2014 after Savchenko's previous partner Robin Szolkowy retired following a stellar career during which they won five world titles, four Europeans, and two Olympic bronze medals.

Ukraine-born Savchenko and Massot, scored 75.54 for their 'Cirque du Soleil' performance, with Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov third (70.17) going into Saturday's free skating final.

The continental competition concludes on Saturday with the ice dancing and pairs free skating finals.

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