Figure skating-Russian teen Valieva wins European title ahead of Beijing Games


Figure Skating - ISU European Figure Skating Championships - Tondiraba Ice Hall, Tallinn, Estonia - January 15, 2022 Russia's Kamila Valieva celebrates with gold medal after winning the ISU European Figure Skating Championships REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

(Reuters) - Russia's 15-year-old Kamila Valieva won the European figure skating championships in Estonia on Saturday, solidifying her status as the gold-medal favourite for next month's Beijing Olympics.

Valieva finished with a total of 259.06 points -- achieving a 90.45 score in the women's short programme on Thursday and 168.61 in the free skate event on Saturday.

She fell on her triple Axel but landed two quadruple jumps -- a Salchow to open and a flip in combination with a triple toe loop -- in the free skate event after breaking her own world record with a nearly flawless short programme.

Valieva led an all-Russian podium, with Anna Shcherbakova in second and Alexandra Trusova third. Shcherbakova finished 21.64 points behind champion Valieva.

Russia are expected to announce their Olympic line-up for the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Games next week, with all three skaters likely to make the cut.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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