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W. German Leistner Takes Lead in Europe Skating Championship

Associated Press

West German Claudia Leistner took the lead after the women’s compulsory figures today at the European Figure Skating Championships, while Soviets still led in two other events.

Leistner, 23, was ranked first in both figures, which count for 20% of the total score. It was the first time she won the compulsory phase of the competition at an international event.

Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko led a Soviet sweep of the top places in the dance after the original set pattern presentation. The dance ends Friday.

British champion Joanne Conway was second in the women’s event, with the Soviet Union’s Natalia Gorbenko third.

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“I was very nervous though I know I am expected to win,” Leistner said. “I am optimistic for the original program.”

The women next skate their original program, worth another 30%, Friday with the final free program Saturday.

Klimova and Ponomarenko won the original set pattern phase of the ice dance event, delivering a sassy routine to “Ain’t She Sweet.” All the couples skated to variations of the Charleston rhythm.

Later today, the men were to conclude their competition with the final free skating. Aleksandr Fadeev of the Soviet Union, seeking his fourth European title, was the leader.

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Richard Zander of West Germany, who led after the school figures but dropped to sixth after the original program, withdrew because of a back injury.

The Soviets won their first title of this year’s championship Wednesday when Larisa Selezneva and Oleg Makarov warded off a strong challenge by East Germans Mandy Woetzel and Axel Rauschenbach.

In the absence of Olympic champions Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, the pairs title still was expected to be easily dominated by Soviet skaters.

Before Wednesday, the Soviets had won all but two European pairs titles since 1965.

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Makarov and Selezneva did a capable job of skating to a medley of Russian folk music that included all the difficult moves for which the Soviet skaters are known.

“We’ve changed our choreography style a lot since last year,” Makarov said.


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