Ice skating: Main's withdrawal ends British interest

STEPHANIE MAIN, the British champion, could not take part in the first stage of the ladies competition at the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki yesterday.

The Edinburgh skater injured knee ligaments while breaking in new boots earlier this month and had to withdraw at the last minute. No other British woman skater was considered by the British National Ice Skating Association to be strong enough to substitute for Main in Helsinki.

The leaders after the qualifying stage are the American world champion, Michelle Kwan, Russia's European champion, Maria Butyrskaya, and Tatiana Malinina, from Uzbekistan. Kwan led Group A ahead of the Frenchwoman Vanessa Gusmeroli, while Butyrskaya led Malinina in Group B.