Ice Skating: Russians win pairs title

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Marina Eltsova and Andrei Bushkov, the Russian world champions, won the pairs event at the European Figure Skating Championships in Paris last night.

Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer, of Germany, took second place and the Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze the bronze.

Last year's winners, Russia's Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev, failed to make the team after finishing fourth in their national championships.

Russia's Ilya Kulik and Viacheslav Zagorodniuk, of Ukraine, put poor qualifying displays behind them to dominate the men's short programme.

Kulik, champion in 1995, and Zagorodniuk, champion last year, called on their experience to take the top two places after skating far below their best in qualifying on Sunday.

Fourth and sixth in their qualifying group, both performed the key element of the short programme - the jump combination - superbly, each completing a difficult triple axel linked with a triple toe loop.

The Briton Steven Cousins, fourth last year, managed only 10th place, six positions ahead of his team-mate Neil Wilson.