Amirkhanova speaks to sport-express.ua Bekhnazarova speaks to isport.ua The translations are not exact, I cut all the introductions etc, assuming everyone knows what NHK is and who Volosozhar/Morozov are. First article: Only one Ukranian skater will take part in GP series - Kovalevski will participate CoR and TEB. Volosozhar left Ukraine to skate with Trankov for Russia. Anna Zadorozhnuk/Sergey Verbillo and Alla Bekhnazarova/Vladimir Zuev finished their careers. Zadorozhnik and Zuev retired because of the injuries The coach Marina Amirkhanova hopes a new team to be formed from the new skaters in 2 years Alla Bekhnazarova/Sergey Verbillo tried skating together (they used to skate together before) but it only lasted for a week in Moscow. Verbillo decided to retire. "Why? It's hard to give an explicit answer to that", said Verbillo when asked to comment on the current situation. "There are alot of reasons, but mainly because I was proven again that my country does not need me to continue skating. People who are filling the papers and give reports do not care about the Ukranian sport. Alla is a great skater. Am sure given a different government (am not sure whether he speaks about Ukrainian government here or the federation, assume the skating federation) we could easily fight for the highest places in Europeans 2011 taken the last year's results and all the post-Olympic retirements. I feel that I did not accomplish all I could in figure skating, even though I could. I'm just 26 y.o. and am sure my best results would be in the current Olympic cycle" He is not planning to go back skating. He does not want to skate for another country and he had enough of fighting with corruption, bureaucracy and lack of will to change things in Ukraine. He lives now in Moscow "I have a business and also work in several ice rinks as a choreographer and a consultant. Even after retiring am invited to work in 6-7 countries, but Ukraine is just not one of them" According to Marina Amikhanova this season the Ukranian competitors are Nadezhda Frolenkova/Mikhail Kasalo from Kharkov, Hikken-Kennedy/Shakalov from Kiev and perhaps Findley/Dun, whose skating is still a mystery since they missed the test skates at the end of August. Agafonova/Dun won several JPG events, but they split after the last season. Dun searched for a partner and found one in Canada, where he trains now. "They would have to pay themselves for the flight tickets for them and their coaches, so they decided there was no point coming to the test skates. Though perhaps they are not ready yet" explained Amirkhanova. The pair to represent Ukraine this season are Ekaterina Kostenko/Roman Talan. They had not yet skated in any international events (weird, I was pretty sure they participated something in the past....)and their first competition will be in December. "It's too early to comment on their progress yet, but their programmes are much more interesting than last year's. The thing is the choreography is not everything -they have to jump, do the throws and the elements" commented Amirkhanova. They skated their LP without the elements in Kharkov. Because of Kostenko's injury the choreographing of the new programmes was postponed. They were only able to do the programmes right before the test skates, hence they gave up all the elements. Though we should be grateful they did not retire altogether after Vancouver games, since there doesn't seem to be anyone behind them. The current Ukranian champion Natalia Popova and the bronze medalist Anastasia Kononenko didn't participate the test skates either. They both train in the USA. Popova, who trains under Petrenko/Zmievskaya was competing somewhere in the USA while Kononenko was in JGP in France. Irina Movchan from Kiev switched the coaches this summer as well and went to the USA. She considered coming back to Kukhar before leaving, but later decided to remain in the US. "At the summer during the trainings it was obvious the change was for the good. She is in a much more strict borders and is not cuddled.Unfortunately during the skate she was not able to perform the elements she does during the trainings", commented Amirkhanova. Because of the problems with her ankle the 2 time Ukranian champion Elenonora Vinnichenko, who is Marina Amirkhanova's student missed the test skates. She is supposed to be back on the ice sometime soon. Anton Kovalevski came to the test skates. He've been training in Oberstdorf under Huth for the last 2 years. He kept his last year's LP, which according to the specialist is a great programmer. His SP this year is the same style. "I reckon he likes the style", thinks Amirkhanova "He is an experienced skater and knows what is good for him. Though I personally like it when the skaters change the characters on the ice" The new season is going to be hard for Ukraine. Amirkhanova wishes there was some competition in the male field as well as among the ladies. ------------------------- The 2nd interview with Bekhnazarova, again, only the main points, don't really feel like translating literally, sorry The 26y.o. skater denied Amirkhanova's saying she retired. On the contrary, she is looking for a new partner. "The fact my salary was taken away and I was expelled from the team does not mean I stopped skating" explained Bekhnazarova. "It means am not needed, am a used material. But I keep on searching for a partner. Perhaps I'll represent another country, it's obvious Ukrain doesn't need good skaters. It was hinted to Sergey Verbillo. Had we continued to skate together we could show some results. Of course, we would ask the government to support us, and that might be what they didn't want" "We needed a place to live in Moscow. To pay the coach. It's not a huge amount actually, we are talking about 5K$ a month. But we could medal at Europeans and GP and pay back. In a private talk Daniel Amirkhanov (the head of the winter sports) told me to go on skating. 2 weeks later I found out I was expelled from the team. I was supposed to take part in the test skates in Kharkov but I didn't have a partner. After that I didn't speak to the officials. Whats' the point? Amirkhanov was never against me, the opposite, he always tried to convince me he needs good skaters, that I should go on skating and look for a partner. Nevertheless, no one could help me and I was trying to do everythign myself. The French federation wanted me to skate for them. I even tried out with a French skater. I won't tell the name. He came to Odessa for the try out. He've been ice dancing just for 6 years and lacks some experience. He is a great skater, but we had problems skating together. One needs to feel the partner and I didn't believe in him. Besides, during the first year I would still have to look for the money - before the French Nationals. I didn't want to. If I should go on skating it will be with an equal partner"