Home Figure Skating News Anastasiia Gubanova leads Women at Europeans

Anastasiia Gubanova leads Women at Europeans

by Paula Slater
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Anastasiia Gubanova

Anastasiia Gubanova of Georgia competes in the Women’s Short Program during the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Espoo, Finland.

2023 European Figure Skating Championships
Women’s Short Program

Anastasiia Gubanova of Georgia took a two-point lead in the Women’s Short Program at the 2023 European Figure Skating Championships on Thursday. Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx is currently in second, followed by Kimmy Repond of Switzerland.

Gubanova put out a solid program to music by Fabrizio Paterlini which featured a triple flip-triple toe, double Axel and triple Lutz. While the final layback spin was graded a level two, the 20-year-old took a level four in the footwork and the flying camel spin. All jumps received many positive grades of execution (GOE) and she scored a new personal best of 69.81 points.

“I didn’t expect those scores as I didn’t skate ideally,” said the 2022 MK John Wilson Trophy silver medalist. “I made a small mistake on the spin, it is a shame, of course. Otherwise, I would score more than 70 points. Nevertheless, I am very happy that the judges gave me those scores.”

“This is my second European championship and I feel I gained more experience in comparison with the previous time,” Gubanova added. “I can skate calmer. I know how to behave, what to do in some situations.”

Hendrickx opened her routine with a solid triple flip and double axel, but underrotated the front-end of a triple Lutz-double toe, stepping out of the second jump with a hand down. All spins and footwork were graded a level four with high GOES in her program to “Heaven” and “Fallen Angel” by Karl Hugo. The 2022 Worlds silver medalist sits in second with 67.85 points.

Yes, I’m disappointed about my skate today,” said the 23-year-old from Arendonk. “It wasn’t perfect, and I made a really big mistake. I know I can do much better, and this season, I showed some very good short programs. Here, it just didn’t work out, and I’m disappointed. The timing was just off, and I missed the height of the jump. That’s why I couldn’t do the second jump perfect.”

Hendrickx, who is coming in as the favorite at this event, didn’t feel the preparation was any different from other competitions.

“But yeah, it’s a post-Olympic season and it’s mentally really hard,” she said. “But I think I managed it really good in the beginning of the season. Now I have to keep focus and keep my confidence.”

Repond earned a new personal best for her “Two Feet” medley routine for third place (63.83) in her debut at this event. The 16-year-old from Basel slightly underrotated the front-end of a triple Lutz-triple toe, but the double Axel and triple flip were clean. She also earned a level four for all spins and footwork.

“It was my first Europeans, it was always my goal,” noted the 2022 CS Budapest Trophy silver medalist. “I have been skating for 12 years now and I’ve always dreamt about Europeans and Worlds. It’s like a goal come true. I’m really happy about my performance, because I just wanted to show my best and I did it.”

Repond will be going to Junior Worlds, and possibly Worlds, depending on how she finishes at this event.

Austria’s Olga Mikutina gave a clean skate which featured a triple Lutz-double toe, double Axel and triple flip. She picked up a new season’s best of 62.78 points for fourth place for her routine to “My Nocturnal Serenade” by Yohio.

“I am 70 percent satisfied with my performance,” said Mikutina. “It was better than in the previous competitions, one mistake at the beginning. These are my third Europeans and I have more experience now. It is completely different from my first time. I became more mature and mentally stable.”

Mikutina missed nationals due to chickenpox after she returned from NHK Trophy. “Two weeks I was at home in quarantine, didn’t go anywhere. And therefore, I couldn’t prepare for Nationals.”

Ekaterina Kurakova of Poland landed a triple Lutz-double toe and double Axel, but underrotated and put a foot down on a triple loop for fifth place (61.81).

The 20-year-old from Torun skated last and admitted that is more difficult psychologically.

“You have to wait until everyone has skated,” Kurakova explained. “Even if you don’t want to, you still hear all the scores, so it is hard, of course. But I am just glad to be here, and I am glad that I will be in the last warm-up group on Saturday. There’s something to fight for, so everything is just great.”

Belgium’s Nina Pinzarrone delivered a double Axel and triple loop, but underrotated the back end of a triple Lutz-triple toe and is in sixth place (61.35).

“In the summer, I had a stress fracture in my hip, so I couldn’t do anything for six weeks,” said Pinzarrone. “So it was really hard. But then after six weeks, it was much better and I could skate again. But it took a really long time to be completely over, so I had a little bit less preparation. But I’m happy I’m here. I feel happy also, because after the injuries, I am happy to show what I can do and I hope this continuues.”

Niina Petrokina of Estonia is close behind with 61.05 points, followed by Finland’s Janna Jyrkinen (60.77) and Switzerland’s Livia Kaiser (60.25).

The Women’s event will conclude on Saturday with the Free Skate.

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