This year's International Skating Union Grand Prix figure skating champion Irina Slutskaya has won her second Russian national championship by taking the ladies' long program in Moscow.
The 22-year-old Slutskaya had slight technical faults in her long program, but earned scores of 5.7 and 5.8 out of six. She held off a challenge from six-time Russian national champion Maria Butyrskaya, who stepped out of triple jumps twice in her program. Viktoria Voltchkova took third place.
Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Saint Petersburg lead the pairs' competition after the short program. The 1998 Olympic silver medallists finished with marks of 5.8 and 5.9.
Meanwhile, Moscow's dancing duo of Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh lead after the original dance portion of the ice dancing competition. The skaters earned mostly 5.9's for both technical merit and artistic impression.
The championships conclude Saturday with the men's and pairs' free skate and the free dance segment. The top two finishers in each event win a berth to the European championships. The Russian coaches will choose a third competitor. A similar format will determine the Russian Olympic squad after the European championships.