ICE SKATING : Bonaly to ignore broken toe

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The Independent Online
Surya Bonaly, the defending champion, will defend her European figure skating title with a broken toe. The Frenchwoman said yesterday she had hidden her injury to avoid being prevented from skating in Dortmund.

After a training session, Bonaly revealed that she broke the little toe on her left foot two weeks ago, but agreed with her mother, Suzanne, who is also her coach, to keep the injury a secret. She refused to see a doctor or undergo X-rays.

Sophie Moniotte and Pascal Lavanchy, of France, took a narrow lead in the ice dance when the main competition in the European Championship began yesterday.

Radka Kovarikova and Rene Novotny, of the Czech Republic, took the top spot in the pairs' short programme in a close struggle with the Germans, Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer, and Yevgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov, the 1994 world champions from Russia.

All three couples had first-place votes from the nine judges, but the Czechs had the slight advantage with their skating to "Romeo and Juliet". After two days of singles preliminaries, the two compulsories opened the ice-dance event, and found the Frenchduo ahead after the Ravensburger waltz and the Yankee polka.

Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko, of Finland, were second, with the Russians Angelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov third. Seven of the nine judges had the French first in each of the dances.

The scores count for 20 per cent of the total mark, with the original dance tomorrow counting for 30 per cent. The final free dance, worth 50 per cent, is on Friday. The men's event begins today with the short programme.