Injured Plushenko retires from Euros

Former Olympic and world champion Yevgeny Plushenko was forced to retire from the European championships with a back injury on Thursday, just moments after he had struggled to sixth place in the short programme.

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia reacts after performing his men short program routine during the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb on January 24, 2013. Plushenko was forced to retire from the European championships with a back injury.

The 30-year-old Russian, who won a seventh European title last year after a two-year absence, is building towards the 2014 Olympics on home ground in Sochi.

He bungled his quadruple jump and then fell attempting a triple axel to leave him in sixth spot on 74.82 points.

Organisers then said that Plushenko, who missed last year's world championships because of a knee problem, had aggravated a back injury and would not continue in the competition.

"You cannot beat your rivals if you are in pain," said his coach Alexei Mishin.

Plushenko was taking part in his first international competition of the year and described his error-hit performance as "an unforgiveable mistake".

"It wasn't a day of magic for me," admitted the Russian.

France's Florent Amodio, the European champion in 2011, leads the way after the short programme with 89.82 points, ahead of Spain's Javier Fernandez, on 88.80, and former triple champion Brian Joubert of France on 83.93.

Meanwhile, Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov retained their pairs title with a winning total of 212.45 points.

Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the world champions, took silver with 205.24 points, with the bronze going to Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy who earned 187.45 points.

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Writer: AFP
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