Dmitri Aliev wins Russian men's national title after bouncing back in free skate

Short program winner Makar Ignatov falls back to fourth; Alexander Samarin claims podium spot.

By ZK Goh

Dmitri Aliev overcame two falls in his free skate to win the men's Russian national figure skating championships on Friday (27 December), setting new personal bests in the free skate and total score.

Sitting fourth after Thursday's short program, the 20-year-old put together a strong skate to clinch his maiden national title in Krasnoyarsk.

Juniors Andrei Mozalev and Petr Gumennik, who both finished ahead in the short program, were unable to match the more experienced Aliev in the longer free skate, while short program winner Makar Ignatov also fell back, eventually finishing fourth.

Aliev's score of 173.63 gave him an overall total of 260.98, with Artur Danielian (253.42) finishing second after a stunning free skate and Alexander Samarin (252.74) third on the podium.

Aliev, a PyeongChang 2018 Olympian, opened with a beautiful quadruple Lutz that scored over four points on the -5 to +5 grade of execution scale.

Although he fell on his next quadruple toeloop and just about held on to the same jump in combination with a double toe, he got through the rest of his jumps without trouble.

There was a late scare for the Ukhta native when he fell on his step sequence, but his performance was enough to earn him the title of Russian champion.

Danielian and Samarin mount comebacks

Danielian, making his senior nationals debut, finished only 13th in the short program but put in the skate of his life, bettering his previous personal best marks in the free skate and total score by 21 and 26 points respectively.

The young Volgograd skater only turned 16 ten days ago but he was not overawed by the occasion as for a while he looked like he might win the whole competition until Aliev's skate.

Samarin, meanwhile, looked like he might miss out on the podium after finishing eighth in the short program.

He fell twice in his free skate, including on a repeated triple Axel, but with the last three skaters Mozalev, Gumennik, and Ignatov all fading away at the end, the 21-year-old from Moscow managed to stretch his run of national championship podiums to four in a row.


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