Minerva Hase and Nolan Seegert had a hard time putting tears and frustration over the Corona drama in Beijing behind them. The impact of Seegert’s infection, his ten days of quarantine and the completely unsuccessful Olympic freestyle – all this somehow still has an effect on the figure skating pair from Berlin at the start of the World Cup in Montpellier. And at the World Cup, which starts on Wednesday, probably the German association’s best hopes will start in difficult conditions.
Preparation at his usual training place in Sochi was not possible due to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Her Russian trainer, Dmitri Savin, was recently only able to care for her online due to sanctions against his country. “It wasn’t ideal,” Hase said. After a few days in Berlin, the couple moved to Bergamo for World Cup training. Other couples were also preparing there, the trainers helped there. “At least we’re not alone there,” said the 22-year-old rabbit.
Trainer Sawin can at least travel to the title fights in the south of France. Hase and Seegert now hope for a happy ending to this difficult season. Even at the European Championships in Tallinn, they fell short of their potential in eighth place. In Beijing, the Berliners were down to 16 because Seegert was weakened by isolation and had to break several lifts during the error-ridden freestyle. Deeply saddened, the couple sat in the corner in a teardrop shape on the Olympic ice.
The best Russian couples excluded
After that, Hase was allowed to take a week off, while Seegert struggled to catch up on a training deficit. In Montpellier, the chances of a good result are better again simply because they face a decimated field. The top three Russian pairs are excluded. Chinese Olympic champions Sui Wenjing/Han Cong will not participate. “We don’t set ourselves a specific goal based on location,” Seegert said cautiously. “Our goal is for our programs to work well and better than in Beijing,” added the 29-year-old.
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All 17 Olympians are also in the German squad for the World Cup. Nicole Schott (Oberstdorf), Nikita Starostin (Dortmund) and German Ice Dance Champions Jennifer Janse van Rensburg/Benjamin Steffan (Oberstdorf). None of them are among the favourites, even if many big names such as Olympic champion Nathan Chen of the USA are missing.
By excluding the Russians, the World Cup will also be spared the upcoming Kamila Valiyeva debate. There was a violent doping scandal in Beijing over the 15-year-old European champion. His case has not yet been definitively clarified in terms of sports law. (dpa)