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SPORT

Ice-skaters take gold for Germany

Germans figure skaters Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy saw off competition from Russians to win a tight battle for gold at the world championships in Nice, France on Friday.

Ice-skaters take gold for Germany
Photo: DPA

The German pair claimed their fourth pairs crown by a margin of just 0.11 points after committing errors in their four-and-a-half minute routine to music from the Pina film soundtrack.

Szolkowy slipped up on a spin and double axel jump during their free skate, nearly costing them the title.

“I was very angry at him [Szolkowy] for messing up the spin,” said Savchenko.

“But now we are very, very happy to be world champions for the fourth time.

But mistakes like that mustn’t happen; we’ll have to learn from our mistakes today.”

Olympic bronze medallists Savchenko, 28, and Szolkowy, 32, who also won in 2008, 2009 and 2011, are the first pairs skaters to win four world titles since Soviet duo Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov in the 1980s.

A stunning performance to Black Swan by Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov saw the Russians win the free skate but they had to settle for a second straight world silver after placing eighth in Wednesday’s short programme.

“We feel something special today,” said Trankov on Friday. “It’s never happened before (to jump from eighth). We had a horrible performance in the short programme. We had never performed so bad, but we got a lot of messages from around the world encouraging us for the free skate and that pushed us today.”

Volosozhar and Trankov scored 140.90 for the free skate with Savchenko and Szolkowy achieving 132.86, but their combined scores gave the Germans 201.49 to the Russians’ 201.38.

Young Japanese pair Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran held their third spot from the short progamme to give Japan a first international pairs medal.

They scored 124.32 for their performance to Concerto de Quebec by Andre Mathieu for an overall total of 189.69.

China’s Pang Qing and Tong Jian, the 2006 and 2010 world champions, dropped to fourth after Tong fell on their opening triple toe loop jump.

“We hadn’t competed internationally for a year. We weren’t really prepared. This was probably our worst ever competition,” said the Chinese pair after their performance.

The championship enters its final day on Saturday with the ladies free skating final in which Alena Leonova will bid to put Russia back on the podium for the first time since 2005.

AFP/jlb

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UKRAINE

German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German football club ends partnership with Russia's Gazprom

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

READ ALSO: OPINION: Germany has scuppered Nord Stream 2 but there are questions left to answer

Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

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