Figure skating-Russia's Valieva sets world record in short programme

Figure Skating - ISU European Figure Skating Championships - Tondiraba Ice Hall, Tallinn, Estonia - January 13, 2022 Russian Figure Skating Federation's Kamila Valieva in action during the women's short program REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

(Reuters) - Russia's Kamila Valieva broke her own world record with a nearly flawless short programme at the European championships in Estonia on Thursday, reinforcing her status as a gold-medal favourite for next month's Beijing Olympics.

The 15-year-old, who also holds the world records in the free skate and combined total, scored 90.45 -- more than three points higher than the record she set at the Rostelecom Cup in November.

Valieva cleanly landed a triple Axel to open her programme before executing a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination.

Valieva finished more than 14 points ahead of Loena Hendrickx of Belgium, who sits in second with 76.25. Russia's Alexander Trusova was third with 75.13 points.

Valieva and 23 other top European figure skaters will compete in the free skate on Saturday.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, editing by Ed Osmond)

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