Skater Mozalev leads Russian top 3 in European short program

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Andrei Mozalev led a Russian sweep of the top three positions in the men’s short program at the European figure skating championships on Wednesday, only three days after he joined the team as an injury replacement.

Less than a point separates the three Russians, leaving the competition finely poised ahead of the free skate on Friday. Mozalev leads with 99.76 points after landing a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a quad salchow and a triple axel, with Mark Kondratiuk on 99.06 and Evgeni Semenenko on 99.04.

World junior champion Mozalev was named to the Russian squad on Sunday after 2018 Olympian Mikhail Kolyada was injured in training. Mozalev is looking to impress the federation to claim one of the three spots on the Russian Olympic team next month in Beijing.

The coronavirus has caused several skaters to miss the European championships.

Five-time European ice dance champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France withdrew last week, citing the risk of contracting the virus before the Olympics. Most of the Israeli team is absent after media in the country reported a virus outbreak on the squad.

The pairs short program is later Wednesday.

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