2003 World Championships

Men's Qualifying

by Maggie Doyle


Group A

Starting Order - Group A
  1. Juraj Sviatko  SVK
  2. Vakhtang Murvanidze  GEO
  3. Kevin van der Perren BEL
  4. Bradley Santer AUS
  5. Timothy Goebel  USA
  6. Maciej Kus POL
  7. Evgeni Plushenko  RUS
  8. Gheorghe Chiper  ROM
  9. Aidas Reklys  LTU
  10. Andrejs Vlascenko  GER
  11. Emanuel Sandhu  CAN
  12. Stepahne Lambiel  SUI
  13. Yon Garcia  ESP
  14. Aramais Grigorian  ARM
  15. Jeffrey Buttle  CAN
  16. Silvio Smalun  GER
  17. Are-Pekka Nurmenkari  FIN
  18. Chengjiang Li  CHN
  19. Konstantin Tupikov  UKR
  20. Sergei Kotov  ISR


Group A Placements
Place Skater NOC
1 Evgeni Plushenko RUS
2 Timothy Goebel USA
3 Stepahne Lambiel SUI
4 Chengjiang Li CHN
5 Emanuel Sandhu CAN
6 Jeffrey Buttle CAN
7 Kevin van der Perren BEL
8 Gheorghe Chiper ROM
9 Vakhtang Murvanidze GEO
10 Silvio Smalun GER
11 Andrejs Vlascenko GER
12 Are-Pekka Nurmenkari FIN
13 Sergei Kotov ISR
14 Juraj Sviatko SVK
15 Konstantin Tupikov UKR
16 Maciej Kus POL
17 Yon Garcia ESP
18 Aidas Reklys LTU
19 Bradley Santer AUS
20 Aramais Grigorian ARM

Russia's Evgeni Plushenko was in a league of his own here, skating with assurance and making his jumps look effortless. He skated his Carmen freeskating program and landed his quad toe - triple toe - triple loop combination for the first time in world competition. He has previously landed this jump at Cup of Russia and this year's Grand Prix Series Final in St. Petersburg. "I did the quad (toe)-triple (toe)-triple (loop) for the first time at Worlds, and I'm pleased with it", Plushenko said, "It is the first time that I received a 6.0 in Qualifying (rounds)."

Plushenko suffers from inflammation of his left knee but it did not show in his performance that included a triple Axel-triple toe combination and five other triples. "My left knee is still hurting. I don't feel it when I'm just skating, but it hurts on the toe, on the Salchow, Axel and for spins", said Plushenko right after he skated. He will skate his "Criminal in St. Petersburg" Soundtrack freeskate for the final. His technical marks ranged from 5.8 - 5.9 and his artistic marks ranged from 5.9 to 6.0. He will be the first skater in the final group for the short program Tuesday.

When asked if he relied on anyone else for help with his mental preparation for skating he said "only my coach." His coach Alexei Mishen further elaborated, "Anyone needing a hypnotist or psychiatrist is sick. Evgeni is healthy."

Timothy Goebel of the USA earned factor points of 0.8 after landing two quads and five triples in his "An American in Paris" program. He plans to reprise this program for the freeskating final but hopes to increase his jump count. "I'm very happy to be here at the world championships. I feel like I came back healthy and strong. I performed well today maybe not as well as I wanted to but much, much better than the rest of this year has gone," said Goebel. Goebel skates 29th in the skating order for the short program, followed only by his teammate, Michael Weiss.

Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel dazzled the judges and the Washington DC audience with his strong and unique spins and strong performance to` "Chocolate Soundtrack" that earned a partial standing ovation. "That was the best I've ever done so far, even better than in practice‚€¶I had trouble with the triple Axel on warm-up but when I landed it in the program I felt much more confident. It went by itself; I didn't have to push for anything," said Lambiel. He had knee surgery on his right knee and resumed skating in December. Lambiel placed third in his qualifying group, which puts him in the final warm-up group for the short program. He skates fourth out of the final six, which is as the 28th skater of that round. His program also included a quad toe loop - triple toe combination.

Chengjiang Li of China has factor points of 1.6, finishing fourth in this round which puts him tied for seventh place when the two groups totals are combined. He skates twentieth for the short program and missed the opportunity to skate in the final group by one place. He gave a strong performance to the "Star Wars" soundtrack that included a quad toe-triple toe combination, a quad Salchow that was slightly two -footed. He put a hand down on his triple Axel then did a double toe combination. Followed by a triple Lutz, triple flip, triple loop, and triple Axel at the end of the program. "I think I skated well tonight and I was more relaxed than at the Grand Prix final. I am feeling good," said Li.

Emanuel Sandhu of Canada is tied for ninth place after finishing fifth in the qualifying. He missed his quad toe and his coach Joanne McCloud pulled the quad Salchow out of today's program after his warm-up, which she termed "shaky". In his program he did land a triple Axel-triple toe combination but popped his second triple Axel but did his other triples. Sandhu will skate twenty-third for the short program. "I thought he concentrated well. Sandhu mentioned he was doing the quad toe-triple toe- triple loop in practices but they were not putting it in the program, when it actually counted.

Fellow countryman Jeff Buttle sits in 11th place after finishing sixth in his qualifying group. "I wanted to bump it up technically from last year; there is a little more pressure. I am happy with how the triple Axel-triple toe loop went but obviously not pleased with how the quad went today," said Buttle. He tripled his quad toe. Buttle will skate 22nd in the skating order.

Kevin Van Der Perren included a triple Salchow-triple toe loop-triple loop combination in his program but placed seventh here to put him 13th when the two groups are combined. Aramis Grigorian of Armenia was skating on brand new skates and blades (non-custom) after his skates did not arrive in Washington DC, he finished tied for 39th place and will not advance to the short program. The top fifteen in each group continue on to compete in the short program, for a total of thirty competitors.


Group B

Starting Order - Group B
  1. Manuel Segura  MEX
  2. Brian Joubert  FRA
  3. Stanick Jeannette  FRA
  4. Zoltan Toth  HUN
  5. Ilia Klimkin  RUS
  6. Sean Carlow  AUS
  7. Ivan Dinev  BUL
  8. Gregor Urbas  SLO
  9. Sergei Davydov  BLR
  10. Michael Weiss  USA
  11. Roman Skoniakov  UZB
  12. Takeshi Honda  JPN
  13. Dong-Whun Lee  KOR
  14. Karel Zelenka  ITA
  15. Min Zhang  CHN
  16. Stanislav Timichenko  RUS
  17. Ryan Jahnke  USA
  18. Kristoffer Berntsson  SWE
  19. Tomas Verner  CZE
  20. Clemens Jonas  AUT


Group B Placements
Place Skater NOC
1 Michael Weiss USA
2 Takeshi Honda JPN
3 Ryan Jahnke USA
4 Ilia Klimkin RUS
5 Min Zhang CHN
6 Sergei Davydov BLR
7 Ivan Dinev BUL
8 Stanislav Timchenko RUS
9 Brian Joubert FRA
10 Roman Skoniakov UZB
11 Tomas Verner CZE
12 Stanick Jeannette FRA
13 Gregor Urbas SLO
14 Karel Zelenka ITA
15 Zoltan Toth HUN
16 Kristoffer Berntsson SWE
17 Dong-Whun Lee KOR
18 Clemens Jonas AUT
19 Manuel Segura MEX
20 Sean Carlow AUS

These World Championships opened on Monday morning with Men's Qualifying Group B beginning their warm-up at 10:30 AM. The top 15 in each group advanced to the Men's short program that takes place on the evening of Tuesday, March 25. This phase of the competition is worth 20% of the final score and twenty skaters competed in Group B.

Skating second and third in the skating order the two French skaters, Brian Joubert and Stanick Jeanette experienced disastrous freeskates and buried themselves ninth and twelfth respectively. According to Joubert, he was awakened by the smoke alarm going off in his hotel, which disturbed his sleep prior to the early morning practice on Monday. He said, " I did not get much sleep. There was a (false) fire alarm in the hotel during the nightۦ It has been a long season and I am tired. I will try to get some rest for tomorrow."

Ilia Klimkin of Russia skated in this first group, landing his triple Axel-toe combination, performing with great style to "Sunny Boy" by Rene Aubry but missing both of his quad attempts. "The lace on my right book ripped off right before I went out. That's why I missed the takeoff of my first quad and fell on the second quad," he said. He will be skating to "Dr. Diesel" by H. le Bars for the freeskating final later this week. He finished fourth in his qualifying group, just missing the final group for the men's short program. He skates 19th out of 30 competitors in the short program.

Michael Weiss of Fairfax, Virginia won his Group B Qualifying Group. He was the tenth competitor, skating before a sparse hometown crowd at the noon hour with his "Malaguena" freeskate. Winning here currently ties him with Russia's Evgeni Plushenko with factor points of 0.4. Weiss will be the final skater to skate the short program on Tuesday night. "There is a lot of extra pressure and excitement and it is important for me to skate well here. My goal is to win, anytime you come to a competition, you want to leave the champion," said Weiss. He is also recovering from sprained ligaments and tendons in his ankle, which effected him especially on Lutz jumps. He won't be trying to land his quad Lutz here but has two quad toe loops in his program. He two-footed his quads in qualifying but landed his triple Axel-triple toe combination and four other triples.

Takeshi Honda of Japan skated twelfth and finished second in this group, using his Riverdance program that Nikolai Morozov choreographed for him in mid season. It had strong footwork sections but was much more Spartan in its choreography than past Honda programs. "Since this is the qualifying round so I thought I would only have two quad jumps but these days my quad is getting better. What I regret most is that I missed the triple loop (popped). I will try to do my best to have a perfect short program," said Honda. His strategy for the freeskate is to have more quad jumps planned than Plushenko. "If he does two, I will do three. I want to be the best and be champion," he added. He landed a quad toe-triple toe combination. He is still recovering from his ankle injury that took him out of the Grand Prix final and his quad Salchow hand a hand down today but hung on to his triple Axel landing.

Ryan Jahnke competes here at his first world championships. He finished third in this group despite not attempting a quad. "He is landing them at home in practice but we didn't feel it was consistent enough to include it in his first world championships. We went for quality in his other elements and the judges rewarded him for that," said his coach Diana Ronayne. Jahnke added, "I take one thing at a time and felt solid all the way through. I have a second triple Axel in the slow section of the program and will do it in the freeskate. I decided to double it today while I was in the air." He skates second in the final men's group 5 for the short program. He will use his "Cinderella" program by Sergei Prokofliev again in the final round.

Min Zhang of China skated to the Robin Hood soundtrack combined with the Don Juan de Marco Soundtrack, who started strong and included his two quads but then had problems with his later jumps, and still doesn't spin well. He placed fifth here on his 27th birthday and will skate twenty-fourth for the short program. Sergei Davydov of Belarus finished sixth and will skate twenty-first. He skates to "Criminal St. Petersburg" soundtrack which is also one of Plushenko's freeskating programs this season

Just missing the top six was Ivan Dinev of Bulgaria who has been training with Alexander Abt's former coach, Rafael Arturian since June. He placed seventh in this group and will skate 16th in this short program.

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