St Petersburg (RUS)
14th, March 2009
FRENCH Version available HERE!!
Here is a summary of Battle SPB which took place on Saturday March 14, 2009… ranked as a zero-cone event, this battle was more of a main rehearsal before Battle Moscow (three-cone main event) of the following weekend; this event enabled the participants to taste the water and assess the biggest part of what they would have to fight against – because most of the skaters competing at Battle SPB were going to Battle Moscow!
For a first edition, the organization did pretty well. The Battle took place in the Lider Roller-Rink which was part of a big shopping center (Grand Canyon) – at work for the moment because it’s being equipped with a huge entertainment complex: in the room next door to the rink there were more than a hundred pool tables, and there are still three clubbing rooms and a casino under construction (this was a little anecdote to give you an idea of the seize of the complex).
We were part of the wave of skaters who had taken the night train from Moscow to arrive in the morning at 7am on the dot in St Petersburg, feeling fresh as daisies. The battle only started at 1pm so that we had time to go unhurriedly to the rink – at the end of the blue metro line… that is to say, at a little distance from the town center.
The program was quite simple: first battle, then battle – girls and boys. A not very talkative MC who was afraid of distract the skaters; A Drum’n Bass DJette (Russian people love DnB) who efficiently adapted to the skaters’ requests mixing more urban tracks (she got vinyls brought in express)… these were the little drawbacks of a first organization, but they were all corrected immediately, and the battle unfolded perfectly. There were actually some people in the public – a good surprise for an indoor event… this was mainly due to the fact that the roller-rink was still open to customers, and also to the fact that the rink was situated within a shopping mall – which lured quite a good bunch of interested and curious passers-by.
The girls battle started exactly at 1:05pm (don’t ask me why I checked my watch at that given moment, I just did). The population was mainly Russian with famous Muscovites like Polina Semenova (#3 WSSA) and Nadezhda Zelenova (#15), or Muscovites peaking up like (particularly) Angelika Babiy (#21), or Olya ‘Fercha’ Fadina (#18) the freeskater; there were also the French Chloé Seyrès (#2) and Fanny Violeau (#5), as well as the Ukrainians Marina Boyko (#24) (coming the artistic skating) and Sabina Ismailova (#84), who ties for 7th place just behind the top-skaters – after only one year of slalom-skating (quite impressive!)
Twelve skaters – which is not a huge number indeed, but the level was… wow! Out of the twelve, at least the half of them could have competed with most of the guys – it’s just to mention that there is usually a gap between the levels of girls and boys categories, but that this time for once it was not the case.
Girls Quarter Finals
The Battle began with quarter-finals: four groups of three, two runs per skater to show what they’re worth. All the top-skaters go through to the semi-finals – no real surprise.
Chloé Seyrès (FRA), Sabina Ismailova (UKR) and Elena Zelenina (RUS).
The runs of Chloé Seyrès are far from being perfect, nevertheless her polyvalence enables her to rank first of the group (a bit a sitting tricks, a bit of spins, a bit of freestyle, and a good dose of kicks); she is followed by the young Sabina Ismailova, specialized in spins and screws… who already has a really good balance for only one year of slalom-skating (promising, should be closely watched after!)
Nadezda Zelenova (RUS), Olya Fadina (RUS) and Yulia Kulagina (RUS)
Same thing for Nadezhda Zelenova whose performances are unsteady (she misses a lot of tricks on her first run – but given the attempted tricks, it’s scaring for the next rounds) but despite this, she ranks first of the group thanks to her general ease in skating, in front of Olya Fadina the freeskater who improved a lot in only one season – enough to have a go at sevens and at combos with chicken legs and everything!
Fanny Violeau (FRA), Angelika Babiy (RUS) and Maria Nikoalenko (RUS)
This is the only quarter-final group for which the ranking does not correspond to the “logical” world ranking: it’s Angelika Babiy who gets ahead of the others thanks to her neatness; the Russian is not very fast but she makes the most of her little execution speed to create a balanced and confident effect. She too is specialized in Korean spins and other extensions – going from mega-korean spin combos to flat butterflies (for example)… Fanny Violeau gets the second qualifying place thanks to her fluidity and speed of execution in front of Maria Nikoalenko who is just resuming her slalom-skating training after a few months break.
Polina Semenova (RUS), Marina Boyko (UKR), et Anna Vasilieva (RUS)
Polina Semenova, just as neat as Lika Babiy, imposes herself in front of Marina Boyko and Anna Vasilieva. Polina’s level has peaked up since the WSSA World Championships in Singapore (Dec.08): she has already assimilated her new trick extensions (of screws: the Cobra = a heel-toe cross snake) and has begun to explore extensions of extensions (back cobra, cobra-wiper…) and with such a precision and an easiness of execution…! Marina Boyko, whose artistic skating bases are undeniably present, has improved a lot too: already last year she had a gift for chicken legs… but now instead of doing three spins she does five. She also does an interesting combo made up of two mega-korean spin (normal to switch) – not only is it nice and impressive, but it is also really hard!
Here again the qualifiers follow the logics of the world ranking. This time the skaters have three runs.
Chloé Seyrès (FRA), Nadezhda Zelenova (RUS), Fanny Violeau (FRA), Marina Boyko (UKR)
Chloé Seyrès is leading with efficient and balanced runs, no hesitations contrarily to her quarter-final runs… she can even afford little bonuses (big toe-toe spin at the end of the 50s n her 3rd run). It’s Nadezhda Zelenova who takes the second place of the group with combos which she doesn’t manage better than during her quarter final – but it’s enough to get in front of Marina Boyko and Fanny Violeau.
Sabina Ismailova (UKR), Olya Fadina (RUS), Angelika Babiy (RUS), Polina Semenova (RUS)
It’s the two enthusiasts of Korean spins who get hold of the two first places of the group, that is to say Angelika Babiy and Polina Semenova. Sabina Ismailova and Olya Fadina, despite a good technique still lack linking in-between their tricks sometimes – hesitations which create cuts in the middle of their runs.
The knocked-outs of the semi-finals, i.e. Fanny Violeau (FRA), Marina Boyko (UKR), Sabina Ismailova (UKR), and Olya Fadina (RUS) take part in a quick co-final (two runs each). And it’s Fanny Violeau who ranks first (i.e. 5th at the general ranking) with fast and clean linear freestyle, punctuated with a few spins (Russian, Korean) and sitting tricks (backward footguns, backward and frontward kasakchoks, backward Christie, kasakspins), and a heel wheeling managing the 10 cones of the 80s (!). She thus gets in front of Marina Boyko (2nd) who somewhat missed her co-final, in front of Sabina Ismailova (3rd) and Olya Fadina (4th).
The finalists are treated to three runs and one last trick. They choose their order to go following their world ranking:
Chloé Seyrès chooses to go first, Polina Semenova fourth, Nadezhda Zelenova chooses the second place, and Angelika Babiy has no choice but going third.
The four skaters could be classified into two different types of styles: Chloé Seyrès and Nadezhda Zelenova have a fast and dynamic style, whereas Polina Semenova and Angelika Babiy are calmer and play on the same ground (spins and extensions). The three Russians show the same combos as they did during the previous rounds, but they manage better and better as the qualifiers unfold… so that in final – errr Wham goes the French!
1-Chloé Seyrès show a clean first run based on jumped freestyle to launch four back heel-toe crossed compasses, finished with a heel-toe spin – plus front heel-toe crossed compasses.
2-Nadezhda Zelenova sets the tone managing heel fishleg, going on with two big backward crossed compasses around two cones, six cones doing back toe wheeling and ends up with a flourish doing a combo of sitting tricks (back free Christie – not that down – to front kasakchok) linked to wiper to heel seven…
3-Angelika Babiy does many tricks in a row too – flat butterfly to begin with, heel-heel Korean screw, back heel wheeling, front and back kasakchoks (the whole on four cones each).
4-Polina Semenova does a nice 20-cone combo of heel-toe tricks: alternated front-back cobra (like a flown wiper – a cobra-wiper) to front cobra, then to back, to front crossed compasses, blocked to back! She ends up with a snail on the 50s doing heel wheeling front external circles.
1-Chloé Seyrès doubles up her efforts and starts with a 4-spin chicken leg finished with a toe-toe spin… but the rest of her run is kind of messy – due to head spinning – with a shy heel seven on the last two cones of the line, a front-to-back heel wheeling to *fall*; and an express go on the 50s doing front toe wheeling to sewing-machine (managing four cones but kicking two…)
2-Nadezhda Zelenova just goes on her way: toe special one foot to uncrossed screw, attempts (without much success) at external back heel seven and heel special one foot, but makes up for it with a combo of toe reverse eagle to crossed compass to bloc, finishing the four remaining cones doing back heel wheeling.
3-Angelika Babiy shows sitting tricks first (free Christie, front to back!) directly linked to Korean screw… she also does two little toe wheelings (four cones front and two back) as well as back heel-toe crossed compass.
4-Polina Semenova has undeniably begun to work on wheeling tricks: she goes on the 80s doing heel wheeling, unhooks to do a big external circle and comes back to the line; she shows some sitting tricks to finished the run – kasakchoc front-lateral-back (6x3x5).
1-Chloé Seyrès answers back with sitting tricks on the 80s: she goes to (doing kasakspin) and fro (doing back kasakchoc) and goes on with back heel wheeling managing the four last cones; she tries again to do toe wheeling to sewing-machine (like in her second run) but it’s not more convincing than previously… and she ends up doing grabbed heel spin.
2-Nadezhda Zelenova has a little warm-up doing Z, after-eight, Korean screws… before going on with highly technical combos doing toe wheeling to two-cone seven, and a weird sitting trick – a mix alternating between front free Christie and back footgun (a kasak-christie spin) to back kasakchok.
3-Angelika Babiy shows a clockwork regularity as for the managing of her combos… on her third run she does: a combo of cobras (front and back), two-cone external toe seven, free footgun to wiper on the 50s, a big heel-toe crossed sweeper launched from stop (super-class!), and front wheeling to finish the line.
4-Polina Semenova’s last run is mainly made up of sitting tricks: 9-cone front footgun to back kasakchok on the 120s; apart from that, she does an interesting attempt at cobra to heel chicken leg, various wheeling, and seven managing two cones.
1-Chloé Seyrès does toe wheeling snail on the 80s (toe wheeling, unhooking to do the snail, coming back to the line).
2-Nadezhda Zelenova needs both of her tries to manage heel wheeling to seven (managing only 3 cones on the first try, and 6 – but with a tap during the launching – on the second try).
3-Angelika Babiy does a repetition of the same combo: 4 cones doing butterfly then spinning once on herself, and this repeated on the 20 cones of the 80s – but she kicks a cone at each spin…
4-Polina Semenova, specialized in last tricks laaasting too loooong ;), remains truthful to her reputation doing cobra-wiper managing 20 cones, back doing front cobra, and back again doing back cobra (but she stops in the middle of the line).
Finally, here is the ranking of the Girls Battle:
1-Nadezda Zelenova (RUS)
2-Polina Semenova (RUS)
3-Angelika Babiy (RUS)
4-Chloé Seyrès (FRA)
The participants for Boys Battle were 37. Just as for the girls, most of them were Russian, but there were also Ukrainians, Byelorussians, and French. There were very interesting skaters, and I must admit that the general level in Russia is impressive…
Amongst the top-skaters were present (in the world-ranking order) Igor Cheremetieff (FRA, #1 WSSA), Xuan Le (FRA, #8), Mischa Gurevich (RUS, #10), Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryazantsev (RUS, #20), Yuriy ‘Merlin’ Alexeev (RUS, #26), Viktor ‘Generator’ Meleshkevich (RUS, #35) the current Russian champion, Max Shvyrev (#41, RUS) who went to Hannover (GER) for the Inline Games last August, Viacheslav Sinyushko (#42, UKR) who came last August at Battle Warsaw (POL), Dmitri ‘Man’ Milyokhin (#52, RUS), Andrei Shitov (#56, RUS), Denis ‘Disa’ Islamov (#67, RUS), Alex Shulhan (#94, BRS)…
To begin with, there was a first round made up of twelve groups, in which were dispatched all the skaters. Only the first two of
each group could go through to the Eighth Finals. Except for Alex Shulhan (BRS), all the promising skaters qualified for the Quarter Finals.
Igor Cheremetieff (FRA), Viktor ‘Generator’ Meleshkevich (RUS), Roman Gordin (RUS), Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryasantsev (RUS).
Igor Cheremetieff gets the first place of the group, followed by Viktor Meleshkevich. The two skaters are particularly fond of wheeling games and the outbidding was quite daring. ReKiL and Roman Gordin are knocked out, both just as fond of wheeling games but ReKiL lacked regularity, and Gordin, despite an inhuman balance doing wheelings still lacks variety.
Dmitry Shevarutin (RUS), Max Shvyrev (RUS), Dmitri ‘Man’ Milyolkhin (RUS), Denis ‘Disa’ Islamov (RUS).
Dmitriy Shevarutin and Max Shvyrev go through, knocking out Man and Disa. Dmitri ‘Man’ Milyokhin still has his own style executed with abnormal speed; he sure has worked on his sevens and wheelings, but remains a little weak as for Korean screws. Denis ‘Disa’ Islamov’s level has peaked up since last year; he’s got a very special style amongst men because contrarily to the others who tend to push their limits (too much) further (which too often gives a messy general impression), Disa remains balanced and thorough: sevens (not fast but clean), front-to-back sevens, back-and-fro doing toe wheeling… but it is not enough for him to go through, this time.
Mischa Gurevich (RUS), Yury Alekseev (RUS), Maxim Igaev (RUS), Gerogiy Kresman (RUS).
Mischa Gurevich, the Russian expatriated to Germany, is knocked out at this stage – because of a big tactical mistake: whereas his rivals all did very technical tricks (sevens, front-to-back/back-to-front wheelings in particular), M.Gurevich restricted himself to super-fast freestyle (indeed, this is his specialty) but without even trying to do tricks that could have enable him to go through… Thus it’s Maxim Igaev and Yury Alekseev (sitting tricks and wheelings – not very stylish but efficient) who get hold of the two first places of the group.
Viacheslav Sinyushko (UKR), Mikhail Dergachev (RUS), Andrei Shitov (RUS), Xuan Le (FRA).
Andrei Shitov and Xuan Le are one length ahead of the others as for general skating ease, and qualify for the semi-finals. Andrei Shitov too, has spectacularly improved since last season…
Igor Cheremetieff (FRA), Dmitry Shevarutin (RUS), Yury Alexeev (RUS), Xuan Le (FRA).
Igor Cheremetieff makes a few mistakes, but makes up for them soon enough to rank first of the group. He is followed beyond dispute by Dmitriy Shevarutin who acquired impressive and surprising balance and regularity in wheeling (cf. see the steadiness with which he manages 20 cones doing back heel wheeling on the 50s) – he is also one of the first to have mastered butterfly: last year he could already do it super-fast on the 50s – this year he has added back toe wheeling after the butterfly! Xuan Le and Yury Alexeev don’t show tricks technical enough and are out of their leagues against the two other opponents.
Viktor Meleshkevich (RUS), Max Shvyrev (RUS), Maxim Igaev (RUS), Andrei Shitov (RUS).
Viktor Meleshkevich and Andrei Shitov, more daring and steady technicians, knock out Max Shvyrev and Maxim Igaev.
Gathering Xuan Le (FRA), Yury Alexeev (RUS), Max Shvyrev (RUS) and Maxim Igaev (RUS).
Maxim Igaev is leading, and gets hold of the 4th palce at the general ranking (winner of the co-final). He is followed by Xuan Le (6th), then by Max Svyrev (7th), and by Yury Alexeev (8th).
It was hard to make forecasts for the final ranking… all the finalists are very balanced and steady, and they all have their own proper styles and tricks. Nevertheless, they also have been skating for several rounds and begin to show signs of tiredness: a reversal of situation could happen at any time. All in all, the performances of the finalists were more impressive during the previous rounds (less tired and probably less stressed). But the final is still worth being watched.
The order to go is as following:
1-Igor Cheremetieff (FRA)
2-Andrei Shitov (RUS)
3-Viktor Meleshkevich (RUS)
4-Dmitry Shevarutin (RUS)
1-Igor Cheremetieff does an intimidating start managing disaster 180 to 6-cone toe seven on the little 80s, coming back doing back heel wheeling; then he goes on the big 80s and his rate of success falls all of a sudden: apart from two big back low crossed compasses, he doesn’t manage to do Mario-slide to heel-toe crossed compass, and misses two attempts at special one foot.
2-Andrei Shitov starts with a somewhat febrile line of sitting tricks on the 120s – footgun (switch to normal) to kasakchok; then he does a combo of uncrossed screws to toe chicken leg (three spins but kicks the cone on the second) – he too tries without success to do toe special one foot.
3-Viktor Meleshkevich has a few common points with Igor Cheremetieff (except for the powerful style) in particular in the unfolding of his first run – he starts like wow and… finishes like crap: a sensational start with a combo of front-to-back-to-front-to(…) heel wheeling, heel special one foot… and then he accumulates mistakes and with a big hesitation during an attempt at front-to-back toe wheeling, and a toe seven (5 spins but) out of the line.
4-Dmitriy Shevarutin too directly sets the tone, managing the 20 cones of the 50s doing back heel wheeling, and coming back doing wiper to back toe wheeling! He then misses to do heel seven on the 80s but makes up for it with a clean 5-cone toe seven.
1-Igor Cheremetieff does his favourite sitting tricks combo (christie, kasakspin, spin footgun) which he manages well – this was an answer to Shitov’s first run; this run too is uneven with kicked cones and a low rate of success.
2-Andrei Shitov masters his tricks: he controls the speed of launching of his tricks which gives a less dynamic general impression than that of his fellow finalists, but much cleaner: front-to-back heel wheeling, 3-cone heel seven, heel-toe crossed compass, back toe brush, toe special one foot…
3-Nothing much to remember about the second run of Viktor Meleshkevich who accumulates mistakes – again missed combos of wheelings and missed sevens.
4-Dmitriy Shevarutin… quite a funny paradox: he’s probably the tallest skater of the competition, but he’s also probably the one who will have made the most of the 50s. Just as Andrei Shitov, he carefully launches his tricks: butterfly to sewing-machine; sitting tricks (not as well-at-ease as his rivals); and he ends up with heel seven managing 4 cones.
1-Igor Cheremetieff makes a good start with a toe chicken leg (2 spins); the reste is again less convincing – two attempts at back internal heel seven, 3-cone heel seven, and an attempt at back external chicken leg transformed into internal spin out of the cones.
2-Andrei Shitov manages a nice series of back-to-front-to-back toe wheeling (but with a little tap during the last back wheeling), goes on with flat chicken leg, misses a heel wheeling combo, and does Korean spins.
3-Viktor Meleshkevich remembers he’d better show sitting tricks, which he does – with an original outing: Christie to kasakchok to… toe seven! (even if less balanced than what he managed in a previous round); he goes on showing powerful tricks doing wiper to toe wheeling to toe wiper; and he ends up doing heel seven managing three cones.
4-Dmitriy Shevarutin accumulates the amazing feats for this last run; a first combo of butterfly to back toe wheeling to toe crossed compass, and back doing back toe crossed compass (I’d warned you!); and a second combo (with a disconcerting easiness of execution) of external toe seven to toe crossed compass, then remaining on one cone doing toe Korean screw ‘til the final bip.
1-Igor Cheremetieff: (doing heel wheeling) back external circle, to front, and going frontward making two-cone circles… goes on with heel wheeling on the 50s but stops after a few cones.
2-Andrei Shitov: back-to-front wheeling on the 80s, and a few cones of 50s.
3-Viktor Meleshkevich: (second attempt) 5 cones doing back wheeling, bloc and back to the beginning of the line doing front wheeling, then U-turn and attempt at seven (but doesn’t manage).
4-Dmitriy Shevarutin: a marathon of butterfly.
The victory goes to the cleanerstand steadiest, Dmitriy Shevarutin, followed by Igor Cheremetieff, Andrei Shitov and finally Viktor Meleshkevich.
Results of the Boys Battle:
1-Dmitry Shevarutin (RUS)
2-Igor Cheremetieff (FRA)
3-Andrei Shitov (RUS)
4-Viktor Meleshkevich (RUS)
Next meeting on the 20-21 of March for the Second Edition of Battle Moscow!
The page of the SPB Battle
The Website of the Lider Roller-Rink (Russian)
The Complete results at worldslalomseries.com
Pictures : Somuray
Close Yr E’s
Paris, 20e Arr.