ice skating 88.
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Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovsky started their season on their right feet this weekend by claiming the silver medal at the International Skating Union Grand Prix Cup of China in Beijing.
The Israeli duo finished behind the world's top-ranked Ice Dance pair, Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia.
"We're skating well..." Sakhnovsky told The Jerusalem Post from Beijing immediately after the Free Dance conclusion. "Our technical element scores were excellent, and we had a lot of encouragement from a very receptive crowd over here."
Starting with the opening Tango Romantica Compulsory Dance to the Latin Combination Original Dance and ending with the Free Dance, Chait and Sakhnovsky managed to stay within a point in each of the technical element scores of Navka and Kostomarov, but lost ground to them in the program component scores and finished with a combined score of 186.13 to 197.07, while Canadians Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe scored 163.36 for the bronze.
The Israelis are now working with coach Alexander Zhulin, a former world champ, and they train together with Navka and Kostomarov.
Chait said that training with the Russians has been a good thing. "It's a great feeling for us, and we try that much harder to be as good as they are, and it's very good competition for us."
Boris Chait, chairman of the Israel Ice Skating Federation - and Galit's father - credited September's Skate Israel tournament with the duo's success in Beijing. "Skate Israel was very constructive and helpful to us as it provided the opportunity for Galit and Sergei to make some modifications to their program," he told The Post.
Chait and Sakhnovsky will next compete at the Cup of Russia beginning November 24.
Chait and Sakhnovsky weren't the only Israelis skating in Beijing. Young Roman and Alexandra Zaretsky, competing in their first senior event, came in ninth overall of the 10 couples.
"This was a very strong field," Boris Chait added. "We're pleased with the way Alexandra and Roman handled themselves in their first senior Grand Prix event, but there remains a lot of work to be done."
In the men's ice dance, Roman Serov and his coach appeared to not have taken to heart the necessary changes required by the New Judging System with both his Short Program and an outdated Free Skate program, and finished last of the 12 competitors with a program that was suited more to the older system of judging.
"We're going to have a meeting after the tournament is completed together with the skaters, the coaches, the judges and referees to have a full review of the different elements involved and to try make sure that the necessary changes will be made in the programs to prepare for future tournaments," Boris Chait noted.
Emanuel Sandhu of Canada, ranked seventh in the world, won the gold with a combined score of 212.66, overtaking top-ranked Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, who had 203.60. Russian Andrei Griazev (200.60) skated his way to bronze.
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