Ukrainian native wins gold at world figure skating championships

13:22, 21 March 2008
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Aliona Savchenko skated for Germany

Germany`s Aliona Savchenko (native of Ukraine) and Robin Szolkowy survived a fall to win pairs gold on Wednesday, while Italian Carolina Kostner led the charge for women`s gold at the world figure skating championships, according to Reuters.

Savchenko and Szolkowy trailed China`s Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao after Tuesday`s short program, where Savchenko had messed up her landing on a side-by-side triple toe loop.

In their free skate on Wednesday the Germans looked like they were heading for another setback as they both tumbled in their side-by-side triple Salchow, but the pair regained their composure to turn in a winning performance.

"Tonight, I don`t know what to say, I`m so happy," said Szolkowy. "It was a hard way to get here and make a performance like this. It wasn`t perfect, but in the end it was enough.

"We don`t think about the points when we`ve done a mistake, as in this system a Salchow can be as valuable as a spin. Every element is important," he added.

Skating to the Cirque du Soleil`s L`Oiseau, the Germans finished with 202.86 points, more than five points ahead of Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao.

The Chinese were unable to reproduce the faultless form they showed in Tuesday`s short program, with Zhang Dan bobbling her landing on the pair`s side-by-side triple Salchow.

Canadians Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison finished third, on 192.78, their first world championship podium finish.

Earlier, Kostner took the lead in the women`s with a crowd-pleasing skate to The Doors` Riders on the Storm in the short program.

The 20-year-old Italian earned a personal best score of 64.28 points despite blowing the landing on her triple lutz jump.

"I have to say I felt very good, because I really enjoyed how the crowd supported me," Kostner said. "It was just fun to skate for the Swedish people."

"I was hoping when I finished that I would be first but I made one mistake and I thought I might be second, but I`m really pleased with my performance and happy."

Japan`s Mao Asada, last month`s winner of the Four Continents trophy and the silver medalist at last year`s worlds, stood second going into Thursday`s final skate after a near-faultless performance that earned her 64.10, her best score this season.

She was joined in the top three by compatriot Yukari Nakano, 22, who turned in a lithe and graceful skate to Chopin`s Fantasie Impromptu, scoring 61.10 points.

Korea`s Kim Yu-na, one of the favorites who is not yet back to her best after recovering from an injury, was back in fifth after a fall on a triple lutz jump.

"I felt pain from my earlier (hip and back) injury when I did the triple-triple combination and then tried to do the lutz. That is why I fell," said Kim.

Defending champion Miki Ando of Japan was back in eighth place after a below-par performance.

 

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