Russian figure skaters lead pairs and men’s singles after short programmes

LAUSANNE, Jan 10 - Andrei Mozalev (RUS) overcame his nerves to deliver a clean routine in the short programme on Friday and take the lead in the men’s singles figure skating event at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

His score of 79.72 points means he holds an advantage of more than three points over teammate Daniil Samsonov (76.62) going into Sunday’s free skate. Japan’s Kagiyama Yuma was third at the Lausanne Skating Arena with 72.76 points.

“I was nervous just before I went on to the ice, but the atmosphere was great,” said 16-year-old Mozalev.

“It’s good that I didn’t make any serious mistakes. I’m happy with the result today, and I’m confident about the free skate.”

Mozalev (pictured above), silver medallist at the Junior Grand Prix Final last month, skated a routine that included a triple axel, before landing a triple lutz-triple toe combination.

An early mistake proved costly for Samsonov, whose opening of a triple axel got downgraded.

Kagiyama – who is coached by his father, the two-time Olympian Kagiyama Masakazu – opened with a triple loop and also pulled off a triple axel, but later paid for botching a triple lutz-triple toe combination, skating into the protective mat around the rink.

Kagiyama Yuma performs during the men's singles short programme | Joe Toth for OISphotos.com

“I did well in practice today and my triple axel during the routine was good,” said the 16-year-old who is considered an up-and-comer in Japan’s stable of stellar figure skaters. “But I was going into the corner with too much speed.”

Kagiyama explained that the protective mat around the rink, placed there because the arena also hosts the short track speed skating competition, had meant he made a slight miscalculation.

“I was feeling very confident about my jumps and I wanted the routine to be perfect, but I didn’t control my speed well. But I couldn’t give up, because the crowd was giving me support.”

In the pairs short programme, Russia’s Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov were head and shoulders above their competition.

Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov | Joe Toth for OISphotos.com

Their score of 71.74 is more than 11 points clear of teammates and closest rivals Diana Mukhametzianova and Ilya Mironov (60.45). Georgian pair Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava are third with 59.14.

“Rather than be nervous about this competition, this event is something that we find interesting,” said Panfilova. “The score is a season’s best for us, but the free skate is going to be more important.”

The figure skating competition continues on Saturday with the rhythm dance segment for the ice dancers and short programme for the ladies’ singles event.

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By Olympic Information Service

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