Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova of Russia added the only missing title to her impressive resume by striking gold at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama (JPN) on Friday. Elizabet Tursynbaeva captured the silver medal, becoming the first female skater from Kazakhstan to win a World medal. Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva earned the bronze medal.
Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) Alina Zagitova (RUS) Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating to “Carmen”, Zagitova reeled off a double Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe, triple Salchow, another double Axel, triple Lutz-triple loop, triple flip-double toe-double loop and triple flip as well as level-four spins and footwork. The 2018 European Champion scored 155.42 points and totalled 237.50 points to win the title with a little over 12 points to spare. “My first thought at the very end of the performance was “yes, I did it”, through hardships to the stars. I realized that I needed a clean skate and I went into each jump determined landing it. I was very nervous, but I think the experience from the Olympic Games helped me somehow. I was very nervous, because this season didn’t go so smoothly,” the 16-year-old said.
Tursynbaeva opened her Tango routine with a somewhat shaky quadruple Salchow, becoming the first woman to perform a clean quadruple jump at the World Championships at the senior level. The Four Continents silver medallist went on to complete six clean triples including a triple Salchow-triple toeloop. The only glitch was a stumble on the double Axel. With 148.80 points, the Universiade silver medallist was ranked fourth in the Free Skating, but moved up to second with a total of 224.76 points. “I still cannot believe that I have won the silver. To tell the truth, during the practice session I was feeling weird. I am glad that after all I managed to focus on my performance,” Tursynbaeva commented. “I am pleased that I landed the quadruple Salchow. It was good in practice, but I couldn’t land it in the past two competitions. Today, when I stepped on the ice I felt great and I thought, I can do it and it just happened,” she added.
Elizabet Trusynbaeva (KAZ) at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Medvedeva’s routine to a Tango medley featured a triple Salchow-triple loop combination, a double Axel-triple toeloop as well as four more triple jumps. However, she underrotated a double Axel. The two-time World Champion earned a season’s best of 149.57 points and moved up from fourth to third at 223.80 points. “I proved that I can, that I am still here and I am all set. Now I proved that I can work and move forward, I can bring joy to people. It proved that I am here, on the top of the World Championships and I only had had to work harder. You will see strong and beautiful Medvedeva next season,” the Olympic silver medalist shared.
ISU Grand Prix Final Champion Rika Kihira (JPN) landed a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination and was ranked second in the Free Skating to move up from seventh to fourth, just missing the podium by less than half a point (223.49 points).
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) slipped from second to fifth after popping a triple flip (222.83 points). Satoko Miyahara (JPN) pulled up from eighth to sixth place with another strong performance (215.95 points).
The ISU World Figure Skating Championships continue Saturday with the Free Dance and Men’s Free Skating.