2012 European Championships: Ladies Qualifying Rounds
By Alexandra Stevenson
She didnít overshadow her rivals the way her teammate, Plushenko, had annihilated his opposition, but the Russian youngster Polina Korobeynikova did sweep the floor with the other 22 competitors. She won by a very substantial 13.46. The blonde, very popular, graceful Joshi Helgesson from Sweden was second. Monika Simancikova from Slovakia was third.
Also going through to the Short Program are Yrethe Silete, France, who was fourth with 90.38 points; Natalia Popova, Ukraine, who was fifth with 88.70 points; Alina Fjodorova, Latvia, sixth, 87.82; Francesco Rio of Italy, seventh, 73.23; Clara Peters, Ireland, eighth, 69.92; Fleur Maxwell, Luxembourg, ninth, 67.22; and Kaat van Daele, Belgium, tenth, 67.22. In 11th place, missing the cut by only 1.24 points was Birce Atabey of Turkey.
Korobeynikova, who is from Moscow, turned 15 on April 12 last year, so she was "legal" to compete here by two-and-a-half months. She is having a very good season. In December, she won bronze in the Junior Grand Prix Final in Ottawa. In Sheffield, she skated 15th of the 23 entrants forced to do this section. She performed to Otonal which was used most famously by fellow Russian, Maria Butyrskaya, who won this European title in 1998, 1999 & 2002.
Korobeynikova soared through her opening +1.20 triple flip to triple toe and completed a triple Lutz, a second triple flip, a double Axel to triple toe, and a triple loop. Her only error was a half point deducted from her triple Salchow combined with two double toes, which was a little unsteady. Her flying sit spin was Level 4 and the other two spins Level 3. Her straight line steps were Level 2.
She said, "I was a little nervous but I tried not to think about this being the European Championships. For me, this is just a competition like all the others. I am skating for myself and I want to please myself. I didn't think about watering down my program content. The qualifying round was a good opportunity to check on myself and it is an extra practice." She scored 109.73 (62.34+47.39)
Korobeynikova was only seventh in her national championship but four of the competitors who placed above her were too young to compete. Skaters for this and the world championships must have turned 15 by July 1 of the previous year. Her routine was set to Otonal, music made famous in the skating world by Maria Butryskaya, who won the 1999, 2000 & 2002 European titles.
Helgesson earned 91.99 skating to Romeo and Juliet. Her elder sister, Viktoria, got a "direct" entry into the SP and did not have to go through the qualifying round. Joshi produced four clean triple jumps including two Lutzes and two level-four spins to earn 96.27 points. She said, "I feel really good about the first half of the program but the last half with the jumps was not so good. I don't know what went wrong. I'll do it better next time." She had three negative GoEs, on a triple toe, a single Salchow and on her final jumping pass, a double Axel to double toe to double loop.
Simancikova landed five triple jumps, earning a total of 91.99 points. The 16-year-old said, "I feel good. I am so happy because this was my first clean free skate this season. I think I wasn't so nervous. I just wanted to qualify. My goal for the competition was first to qualify for the short program and the free. I am happy because these are my first Europeans."
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