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Figure skaters Fentz and Starostin in the European Championship final

Veteran Paul Fentz and debutant Nikita Starostin reached their first intermediate goal at the start of the European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn.

The four-time German champion from Berlin reached the freestyle final on Friday (5 p.m./Eurosport 2) in eleventh place just as effortlessly as the 19-year-old from Dortmund, who is in 14th place in the intermediate classification.

At the top, the athletes from Russia should decide the victory among themselves. Junior World Champion Andrei Mozalev took the lead in front of Mark Kondratjuk and Yevgeny Semenenko, all competitors are already a good distance away from this trio.

Despite a fall during a quadruple toe loop, Fentz, who is only eligible to compete in the team competition and not in the individual competition at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in February, looked better than he had in months. Visibly relieved, the 29-year-old accepted congratulations from his coach Romy Oesterreich.

“The toe loop was very tight, which annoys me. But the result is okay for me,” said Fentz, who surprised with eighth place at the European title fights in Graz two years ago.

Starostin could also be satisfied with his European Championship premiere. The skater, who was born in St. Petersburg and trains in Antwerp, is considered a hope for the future by the German Skating Union (DEU). The Russian should receive a German passport by 2026 at the latest, and he would then be eligible to start for the DEU at the winter games in Milan after next.

In the capital of Estonia, Starostin says he simply enjoyed the moment: “I went onto the ice with a smile. I didn’t even think about points and placements. I just wanted to show my qualities and prove that I did a good job. “

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