Ladies Withdrawn from Russian Figure Skating Nationals


Lipnitskaia pulls out after release of the roster, and Nugumanova may or may not also be out; Tsurskaya hopes to compete at Junior Nationals in Russian figure skating.

Russia’s figure skating hopefuls and veterans have now gathered in Chelyabinsk, just north of Kazakhstan, for their National Championships. The first competitive skates are only two days away. However, at least one of the rosters has only been finalized this week, and as of Tuesday night, there’s a question mark hanging over one entry on the ladies’ side of things. Meanwhile, we also have news of one lady we already knew to be out.

Lipnitskaia a Late Withdrawal

When Julia Lipnitskaia appeared on the initial roster for the ladies’ event, more people were surprised than not. After all, when last we’d seen her at the Rostelecom Cup, attempting to compete had made her still mending leg worse, and she’d barely finished. She ultimately didn’t stay there long, but her withdrawal wasn’t for her leg. Sunday, apparently, she slipped on the sidewalk, and hurt her hip and back badly enough to need treatment for at least two weeks. Within hours she announced herself as out.

Perhaps her struggles with the leg exacerbated the new injury, but either way, it’s a frustrating one. It doesn’t entirely mean her season is over. The internal Russian Cup series used for Nationals qualifying also has a final in February, and skaters have in the past gotten onto the world team through their performance there. But with three other skaters already looking so difficult to dislodge from that team, and her record even before the injury not so great, Lipnitskaia would be a bit of a long shot. Meanwhile, missing all but two competitions this year and only doing even half-decently at one Challenger event endangers her ability to get Grand Prix assignment next year.

Anastasia Yatsenko should be her replacement, at least if there are no complications with red tape or her getting to Chelyabinsk. But it is a story about a second alternate that strengthens the possibility we may have lost another high-profile participant.

Claim Nugumanova is Also Out

Meanwhile, there’s a report that second alternate Sofia Samodurova is also in. At the same time, there’s a report that Junior Grand Prix Finale participant Elizaveta Nugumanova is out. Since one would lead to the other, each makes the other story more likely. On the other hand, published a list of the participants in the ladies’ short yesterday, which listed Nugumanova, and did not list Samodurova. It didn’t list Yatsenko either, though it did leave out Lipnitskaia. There has been no official word, and no word of any kind as to why Nugumanova would be out.

Just missing senior nationals would not be as big a loss for Nugumanova as for Lipnitskaia. She’s not even old enough to compete for spots at the European and World Championships she’s probably not up to winning yet anyway. Her fate depends on the results of the Russian Junior Championships at the beginning of February. Hopefully if she does have some sort of injury, it’ll be the type long healed by then. Though if she misses enough time, that would make it extremely difficult to qualify for the World Junior Championships, which was an uphill battle for her already.

On the other hand, she wouldn’t be the only one there to miss training time. This week we also got a tentative schedule for the event’s likely favorite:

Tsurskaya Reveals More Extensive Injuries, Has Had Recent Surgery

Polina Tsurskaya withdrew from Nationals even before the roster came out, after having withdrawn from the Junior Grand Prix due to unspecified injury issues. Tuesday she did an interview (in Russian) where we finally learned a bit more about her situation, including that she’s been dealing with more than just an injured ankle for quite some time.

TALLINN, ESTONIA – SEPTEMBER 30: Polina Tsurskaya of Russia competes during the Junior Ladies Free Skating on day two of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating on September 30, 2016 in Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson – ISU/ISU via Getty Images)

We already knew Polina was struggling with the bad ankle that took her out of Junior Worlds last year. At one point her doing the JGP at all was in doubt. But it turns out, at the same time she was dealing with knee pain too. Finally this fall, she had to have surgery on it. She ultimately decided to pass on the JGP Finale and rest her knee for the second half of the season. This was probably a wise decision. Like Nugumanova, she doesn’t really need to do the senior competition. She too isn’t even old enough to compete at Europeans and Worlds, although she might’ve placed high enough to enough to “qualify” for them had she been healthy.

She could even conceivably skip Junior Nationals and still go to Junior Worlds. The Russian Federation would certainly send her. Still, she currently hopes she will be ready by the beginning of February. She might not even have to skate her absolute best to win Junior Nationals, although in Russia’s packed junior ladies field, she’d really want to.

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Russian Nationals begins Thursday, with the men’s short program.