The pressure will be on former Russian figure skating champion Ksenia Makarova to beat 16-year-old rival Polina Shelepen to a place at the world championships in Nice when she skates at a trial on Saturday, Valentin Piseev, head of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, told RIA Novosti on Monday.
Makarova, 19, has endured a lackluster season in which she finished sixth at the European championships in January, while Shelepen won acclaim for her free program at the world junior championships in Minsk last week.
“She still has a chance to make it into the squad, but we need to see what condition she’s in March 10,” Piseev said.
“We haven’t seen Makarova for a long time. She was supposed to take part in the finals of the Russian Cup, but she got ill.”
“That’s why her participation at the world championships depends on what condition she’s in.”
Piseev said that the trial would take place in St. Petersburg, less than three weeks before the world championships start in Nice, France.
Russian junior champion Zhan Bush would not be included in the squad for Nice, Piseev said, because he had failed to perform well enough in Minsk.
“He didn’t perform to the required standard at the world junior championships,” he said.
Makarova, the 2010 Russian champion, is ranked No. 12 in the world, making her the second-best Russian skater on paper, but she disappointed with fourth place among a weak field at the Russian Championships in Saransk in December.
Shelepen performed poorly in the short program at the world junior championships, ranking 12th, but rescued her hopes of a place in Russia’s senior squad with a strong free program that moved her up to sixth overall.