Thursday, January 22, 2009

Domnina-Shabalin withdraw

Reigning ice dance champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin withdrew from the European championships Wednesday because of his knee injury, the second top couple to be sidelined by injuries.

A medical bulletin said Shabalin's earlier knee injury had worsened, but gave no other details. Shabalin had surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee in December 2007, but the couple came back in time to compete at last year's Europeans, where they won the title. He injured the knee again in March 2008, however, and the Russians had to miss the world championships.

Domnina and Shabalin were favored to defend their title in Helsinki, with reigning world champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France out as she recovers from shoulder surgery. However, Shabalin had a surprising fall in the compulsory dance Tuesday, dropping the pair down to fifth place.

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski, also from Russia, lead going into Thursday's original dance.

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