There was another long article posted today, from the same journalist. Very strong tone, but nothing but the truth.
Intrigue, protest and scandal in the figure skating scene
by Tibor Fabik
In the Hungarian figure skating scene we can rarely hold a national championships peacefully, this one was not left without a scandal either. The fact that the Hungarian Figure Skating Committee failed at knowing the most recent rules of figure skating and didn't even know how many ladies can be sent to the European Figure Skating Championships is only a minor issue. The Committee plans to send Marton Marko to the ECH after his surprising win at the national championships last weekend, despite making it clear at a meeting on the 17th October that Tigran Vardanjan - the best current male skater of the country - would be named to the world team. The latter won't accept the decision and will petition at the chairman of the Hungarian National Skating Federation.
The written report of that October 17th meeting gives a pathetic image of the Hungarian Figure Skating Committee, because it's full of grammatic mistakes, the ECH team member skater Katherine Hadford's name is spelled incorrectly ('Hartford'), we can feel free to be shocked reading the city name 'Zürick' (instead of Zurich, the Swiss city), as well as the incorrect abbreviations for the ECH and WCH [in Hungarian grammar, there should be no punctuation between the letters in these abbreviations, and the report had...].
The most important note of this report by the Committee, led by Eszter Jurek (73): in ladies and men singles Julia Sebestyen and Tigran Vardanjan will be named to the national team. They didn't know at that time what the competitors knew long ago, that in the ladies competition, Hungary has two entries.
At the national championships last weekend, the men's competition had an unexpected result, where Marton Marko finished ahead of Tigran Vardanjan, and the Committee changed its mind and decided to send Marko to the ECH. Father and coach of the silver medalist, Gurgen Vardanjan - who also happens to be the coach of former ECH champion Julia Sebestyen - asked the committee to have a test skate so that his - internationally much more successful - son can prove his abilities, it was was for naught, they denied them this option. Eszter Jurek told [origo]: Marton Marko has improved a lot recently and it did not occur before that the national champion was left at home and not sent to the ECH.
Gurgen Vardanjan says this is not true. "There was a similar case, not even long ago. That time, they [the Committee] wanted to clear the way for Zsolt Kerekes so that he can go to the ECH (against Szabolcs Vidrai), and they even managed to have him win the national championships. In the end, however, Vidrai was sent to the ECH that year because internationally he was much more successful. So Aunt Tucsi didn't remember correctly. But this is not important now. What is important that there were already two test skates this year between Tigran and Marci and Tigran won both with a huge lead, and he also got almost 70 points more at the competition of Graz, Austria. Tigran scored 169 points there, 110 points for the freeskate alone, while Marci earned 100 points in total. The judges were very kind with Marci at nationals, but still only gave him 151 here. Looking at these facts, it is out of question who should go to the ECH. The committee already decided on the 17th October that Tigran will go. Tigran didn't have a good outing at the national championships, but Aunt Tucsi and the Committee backed out of a test skate before the ECH. In this form, it's very unfair" said Gurgen Vardanjan angrily. He added an important detail: Marko's coach, Andras Szaraz [former coach of Julia Sebestyen] is also a deciding member of the Committee.
The question is clear: how can the coach of the most successful Hungarian ladies skater, Julia Sebestyen not be a member of the governing body of the Committee? Gurgen Vardanjan said: "I was a member for years, but during the last voting procedure, I was swept aside because they were giving away their votes among eachother. This governing body was a place for regular intrigues, the members have no knowledge about even the simplest rules of figure skating, as it just turned out with the ECH ladies quota. On the top of it, Aunt Tucsi said she only made a mistake beause the rules changes recently, which is not true at all."
After a little search, I [the journalist] found out that the "new rule" about the ladies quota is valid for about 10 years now, it can be found in the latest ISU rulebook, in points 2/b and c of paragraph 378.
Gurgen Vardanjan sent his petition to the leadership of the Hungarian National Skating Federation too, and he didn't even mention there that on the two past test skates his son finished much better. He only mentions the competition of Graz, where Fabio Bianchetti was the technical controller of the men's competition, who is a member of the ISU figure skating technical committee. The technical specialist was Terry Kubicka, US champion and 1976 olympic competitor, and to question their expertise would be unwise.
"Tigran suffered an ankle injury in November and couldn't practice for two weeks, and he had a hard time dealing with the sudden death of his grandfather too, since they were really close. [If we look at the national championships and the competition of Graz] the two skaters are equal in results this season, and I don't think that only this competition should decide between them and who should be sent to the international competitions in 2010. There is a precedence that the final placements of the national championships didn't grant the membership to the national team immediately. I ask the leadership of the Federation to examine the incorrect decision of the figure skating committee, which is not the first one made in this season" says Vardanjan's petition. He also added with bold letters: "the Hungarian figure skating committee has no written criteria for the selections to international competitions in 2010, nor do they have a clear criteria about what the participating skaters need to fulfill."
Photo of Eszter Jurek, head of the figure skating committee:
Photo of Tigran Vardanjan and Katherine Hadford at the ECH 2008 in Zagreb, Croatia: