Alena Leonova: If we consider the fight for medals, it would be better to send Tuktamysheva to Worlds
Alena Leonova about prospects of Russian girls at World Championships 2019.
by Anna Kozina for rg.ru
Alena, did you expect such a decision of the coaching council?
– I suspected that the team for Worlds would be formed according to the results of the Russian Cup Final. Zhenya took the first place, Liza – the second.So Medvedeva got a chance.
Whose side were you on?
– Liza Tuktamysheva missed the Russian Nationals at the end of December 2018 because of pneumonia, but she skated perfectly and consistently all the season, unlike Zhenya. In addition, I believe that Tuktamysheva has a much stronger jump content than Medvedeva. So she would be more competitive at Worlds, to date. Evgenia still rebuilds. New Canadian coach, new environment, new training system. From my point of view, if we consider the fight for medals, it would be better to send Liza to Japan.
If we talk about jumps, then in the short program Tuktamysheva fell from the triple axel. Why?
– It also affected the decision. But most likely this mistake happened because of anxiety. In training she did five. And in the free program she did the axel. Proved that she can, that she has this jump is in her arsenal.
You mentioned the competitiveness of Tuktamysheva. How realistic are the chances of the Russian girls to fight for the “gold” at Worlds, where will be three strong Japanese girl headed by Rika Kihira?
– It’ll be hard to fight for gold. In the course of the season, Kihira won against all our girls. She has good jumps. And not even one triple axel in the free program, but two. But it happens, that she fails the short program, but she always skate well in the free. In principle, with clean skating, with perfectly clean skating you can compete with her.
You performed at the Russian Cup Final with Tuktamysheva and Medvedeva on the same ice. What did you think of Evgenia?
– Of course, there is progress. It is evident that she has become more calm. At the Russian Nationals, no one expected such a failure that Medvedeva would be at the end of the standings after the short program. Although then she coped well with the free. She did everything she could, showed herself. At the Russian Cup Final, she also skated the short program well. It’s always difficult to do the short because it is very important. It’s great that Zhenya did everything without mistakes. I generally like what she has become. As a person she has changed for the better, has become easy-going. And I like her skating style more now. Programs, choreography are good. Different from what it was before. Zhenya matured.