Chait, Sakhnovsky thrill at Nationals

Israeli number 1 pair receives perfect score from the judges.

figure skating 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
figure skating 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovsky created an electric atmosphere when they took to the ice at the Canada Center in Metulla at the International Skating Union sanctioned ISU National Championships. The Israeli No.1 pair performed their Original Dance routine, a combination Cha Cha by Manhattan Transfer, Rhumba by the Mambo Kings and Samba by Crazy Brazilians, delighting the crowd which stayed through all the competitions just to see them in action. They received perfect scores from the judges. The final skate of the evening went to the Zaretsky siblings, Alexandra and Roman, who performed a fine combination Latin routine by the Mambo Kings. Following the day's competition, Evgeny Platov, the only two-time Olympic gold medalist in Ice Dancing and coach of both Israeli Ice Dance couples, commented on the recent World Championships, and what it means for the future. Chait and Sakhnovsky finished in 6th place while the Zaretskys ended up in 20th. "We were hoping that Galit and Sergei would be in a better position to be in the fight for a medal at the Worlds, but it didn't work out that way for them," Platov said. "Alexandra and Roman have improved a lot and they've been working really hard. All 30 couples at the Worlds skated well." Platov noted that the Zaretsky pair were one of only two or three pairs that received the highest level for their step sequences in the Original Dance. "However, they're still young and need more experience before they can skate like the professionals," Platov added. The skating ages in the younger national competitions ranged all the way from ages 4-6 to 10-12, followed by the junior ladies and junior men, men and women. Rima Beliy was first in the junior ladies Short Program, followed by Jenna Wykens, who made aliyah with her parents a month ago from the US. Tamar Katz, last year's number one skater is still injured, and will have to have a run-off competition prior to the beginning of the new season in order to qualify her for International Skating Union competitions. There was a battle for the top spots in the junior Mens event, with Evgeny Krasnopolski leading the group in the Short Program by a fairly wide margin, followed by Nazar Mahmud, one of two brothers, who are the first of Druze heritage to represent Israel in international ice skating events. Aaron Vays, another recent immigrant, whose family also moved to Israel a month ago from the US, took the third spot, followed by Yan Tales. Sergei Kotov, who came up through the junior ranks, and who has been out of competition for the past year owing to an operation on his leg, came back with a vengeance and performed a fine Short Program in the Mens event, demonstrating to all that he is back and is ready to skate for Israel once again. Roman Serov continued to impress with a very solid performance, after his fine recent showing at the Worlds, and easily took the top spot. "Overall, I feel I did well at the Worlds, and from here I'll be starting to prepare a new program for next season during the next month or so," Serov said." Boris Chait, the chairman of the Israel Ice Skating Federation pointed out that the Israel I.S.F., together with the parents, helps to send novice skaters, usually in the ages 10-12 category to ISU sanctioned international competitions. Once they reach the age of fourteen, the Federation sends them directly to ISU events." The New Judging System has forced the skaters to become better skaters, and they have all had to learn to skate better on the edges, and improve their skating skills