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(photo credit: Associated Press)
Fresh from a sixth-place finish in ice dance at the World Figure Skating Championships last week, Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovsky are the biggest draws at the Israel Figure Skating Championships, which begin on Wednesday at the Canada Center in Metulla.
The first day of competition runs from 5 p.m. until approximately 8 p.m., with the adult original dance the last item on Wednesday's schedule. The program continues on Thursday from just after noon until around 2:30 p.m. A Gala performance is scheduled for 5-6 p.m.
"We really feel good, and we're happy to be coming home," Chait told The Jerusalem Post as Israel's top ice dancers were waiting to board a flight from Canada, where the worlds took place. "[The national championships] will be more of a show for us than a real competition. We hope a lot of people will come and watch, and we're going to put on an exciting show."
"We will be leaving shortly after [the end of the championships], as we will begin preparing for next year's program," Chait responded when asked about their plans following the nationals. "We will spend about a month planning and beginning to prepare... before being able to take a vacation break.
"We will [also] have ice show performances in New York and Los Angeles during the month of May."
In addition to Chait and Sakhnovsky, skaters of all ages will be taking part in order to determine their national rankings for the next year. Competitors 14 years old and over can compete in International Skating Union competitions and younger skaters in national and other international events.
The Zaretsky siblings, Alexandra and Roman, Israel's No. 2 ice dance couple after coming up through the junior ranks, made their debut appearance in all of the major tournaments this season, culminating with a trip to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and a 20th-place finish at last week's world championships.
"I never believed that I'd be going to the Olympics and to the World Championships," said Roman, who was also speaking to the Post just prior to boarding a flight home. "It's been a great experience for us, and it's given us a great deal of motivation to get better and to continue to improve.
"Our first order of business are the nationals, and after that to show myself at the army, and after that, we'll have to head back to our training in the US to begin preparing for the coming season.
"We'll only be able to take a vacation sometime in June after we've worked out our new program. We'll be working hard on improving our skating skills as well."
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