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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Butyrskaya Wins Russian Figure Skating Title

European champion Maria Butyrskaya captured her sixth national title in seven years Tuesday, landing seven triple loops on her way to winning the Russian National Figure Skating Championship.

The 26-year-old Butyrskaya outskated several up-and-coming challengers, including 17-year-old Julia Soldatova and 16-year-old Viktoria Volchkova, to capture the title at Moscow's Sokolniki Ice Palace.

"For me, it's the most difficult competition, because if you lose you are out of the team and the season is over for you," Butyrskaya told reporters after her victory.

Soldatova, the 1997 junior world champion, and Volchkova, who finished third in the 1998 junior world championships, finished second and third respectively. All three top finishers are likely to land spots on Russia's national team.

Two-time European champion Irina Slutskaya, 19, the 1995 world junior champion and second to Michelle Kwan in the 1998 World Championship, finished fourth.

With Olympic champion Tara Lipinski leaving the eligible ranks and Kwan taking the year off from international events, a place on the Russian team could mean a medal and competition in the women's event was very tense.

Later this month, he said, the federation coaches' council will name those who will skate for Russia at the European Championships in Prague.