The Polish Nationals 2004
Text © Monika Sulik
Photos © Monika Sulik
I've always hated writing introductory paragraphs in essays and things like that. Never was any good at writing them. And this one will be no exception ;) I guess what I should write at this point is that I attended the 2005 Polish National Championships in Opole in mid-December which was held under the new judging system. Despite witnessing what has been called a total disaster and failure of Polish skating (on a Polish skating forum), I enjoyed myself very much :D
a - axel, t - toe loop, s - salchow, r - loop (rittberger), f - flip, lz - lutz
In seniors the level was actually a bit higher than last year (yay!), this because we had the ladies and men junior champions from the previous year compete in seniors.
Senior men was probably the best section of the competition, with each of the medalists landing at least four triples in the FP and the winner completing a triple-triple combination in both SP and FP.
In the ladies, the level was a lot lower, but clearly higher than last year. There were two clean triples landed in the FP and one in the SP (all toe loops), two of these by the champion - Ilona Senderek and one by Maria Mordarska (last year there were none, there was only one 2a landed! plenty more 2a this year!). Maria Mordarska also had a very good attempt of the 3r in the SP, but it was cheated around ┬╝ of a revolution and she didn't get credit for it. Ilona's 3t looks consistent, but her 3s attempts did not impress. While her triple jump repertoire is narrow, she uses the new system very well and showed some very good spins, spirals and steps in her programs. Her programs (choreographed by Sebastian Kolasinski) are a lot of fun to watch. Magdalena Leski failed to complete even a 2a cleanly, but her Skating Skills and non-jump elements kept her in 2nd place (Ilona still outscored her on the non-jump elements though). Maria Mordarska was probably the most ambitious jumper, with even a 3f attempt in the FP, but the quality of her skating didn't go down well under the new system. Magda Leski was actually the only lady in the entire competition to try a 3lz, but the attempts were very poor and I don't think anybody believes she's actually landing it in practice at current.
In juniors the level was a bit disapointing, though everyone was wondering if they were seeing things when Maciej Cieplucha attempted a 3a (the only attempt in competition, no senior man tried). The rotation on the axel was not verified and Maciej fell, but it was still impressive to see it attempted. He went on to land four triples in the FP, including a flip and lutz.
The junior ladies were very disapointing. At the beginning of the season it looked like this event might be a lot more interesting. Only Agata Srokowska landed any triples (a 3s in both SP and FP), but she blew her chances of winning when she failed to complete a 2a in the FP. So Joanna Sulej won it overall on high levels of non-jump elements and good quality of skating. This was all probably most disapointing for the bronze medalist, Laura Czarnota, who was landing two different triples (3t and 3s) in competition just a few weeks before and was the favourite to win here. All of the medalists were attempting three different triples, although in Joasia Sulej's case the "third" was not a loop, but a flip.
We had no junior pairs, but as many as five dance couples - something I wouldn't have expected last season. :)
In the junior mlodszy event (the Polish equivalent of 'novice', the rough translation would be 'younger junior' ), the men were trying 3t and 3s and two of the boys were able to do clean 2axels.
In ladies, the level of performance between SP and FP was very different (Julia Szczerbowska moved from 8th to 1st and Emilia Denis from 1st to 4th). The final result seemed rather random, anyone could have won really. Paulina Zembrzuska held her nerve, landed a 2a in the FP and performed consistently in both parts of the competition and this earned her the gold medal. Interestingly enough, Emilia Denis performed a clean 3r from steps in the FP, but this was still enough only for 4th in the FP because she had landed barely anything else at all. Emilia also landed a 3t in the SP, her two triples were the only triples landed in the junior mlodszy ladies event.
Pairs were better than last year with double twists (poorly performed but still) and even one lasso lift.
We had a mixed age synchro competition (Gdansk and Warsaw), but I'm afraid my knowledge of synchro is still pathetic, so I can tell you nothing about the level really. All I can say is that even for someone who doesn't know much about synchro, there was a clear level gap between the two teams.
The team for European and World Championships
Dorota Zagorska/Mariusz Siudek did not compete due to Dorota's injury, so I have nothing to report on them I'm afraid. Unless you're interested in hearing that Mariusz was helping out a lot with organisational stuff at Nationals and looked in good mood ;) They will not be competing at the European Championships, but should be ready for the World Championships.
Ola Kauc/Michal Zych litterally had no competition - nobody else was entered in senior dance ;) They showed a pretty strong Compulsary Dance I thought, but their Original and Free Dances were poorly performed. The Original started strong, but he fell after a spread eagle lift and after that the performance was very messy. The Free looked messy to me from start to finish.
In the men's, Maciej Kus will represent Poland at the European Championships. Whether he will be sent to Worlds remains to be decided. He did a very strong SP - clean with 3lz-3t combination and this despite problems with his skates that occurred in the warm-up! This would have easilly qualified him to the FP at any European Championships I've been to. The FP had 4-5 triples, but many of them with messy landings. Amongst those, he did a 3f-3t combination. He lost the FP to Przemek Domanski, but he won the SP by such a huge margin that it didn't matter.
We will not be sending a lady.