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Domnina and Shabalin Dance to Gold in Tallinn

Reigning World champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin continued the Russian sweep of the podium by claiming the European dance title, edging out Italy’s Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali and Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski from Russia.

Despite being out-skated by the Italians in the original and free dance segments, the Russian duo never relinquished the lead throughout the competition.

Domnina and Shabalin’s new original routine, an Aboriginal dance enhanced with colorful costumes, caused a stir in the land down under but they remained steadfast about their choice. “Like last year we wanted to go into a little different direction,” Domnina said. “Our coach suggested the idea to us and saw us in this dance when we didn’t see ourselves in it yet. This dance suits my soul very well. The most important thing is that people are not left indifferent by the dance. There are reactions, and that is already a plus. It is impossible to please everyone.”

The Russian duo collected a combined 199.25 points to win their second European title. “We are happy with the gold today, but some technical points could have been better. We’re not satisfied with the technical score, but we have time to work on it,” Shabalin said.

“We had some big problems with the elements. We got some low levels and we need to look at them. We are disappointed. But we only have ourselves to blame, we probably made some mistakes,” Domnina admitted.

Faiella and Scali claimed the silver with 195.86 points. “We are very happy with our feelings. Federica was crying after the free dance,” Scali said. “There was this power, this emotion and she gave everything. I was very emotional, too. We’re really proud of ourselves again to have done the best program of the night.”

Khokhlova and Novitski danced into third place with 189.67 points overall. “Today we showed the maximum of what we can do at this point. We have a new free dance and we had only a short time to work on it,“ Novitski said. “We are not upset. We had to miss some competitions and the third place after the break is a good result, although obviously the third place is not the first place.”

It was a disappointing fourth place finish for Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat from France who missed the podium by a slim margin of 1.16 points. The duo collected 188.51 points in total.

Great Britain’s Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, the 2009 European bronze medalists, finished in fifth with 184.05 points.