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Five-time European champion Bonaly back on French team

January 18, 1997

PARIS (AP) - Five-time European women’s figure skating champion Surya Bonaly was put back on the French team for the European figure skating championships, the French federation said Saturday.

Bonaly was originally listed as a substitute on the official entry list submitted at the beginning of January for the championships starting Sunday.

Bonaly ruptured an Achilles tendon of her right foot during an exhibition last May and has been slow to recover her top form. She won the French championship in December, but her level was judged to be insufficient for an international championship at the time.

Bonaly won the European title from 1991 to 1995 but was second last year to Russian Irina Slutskaya. Bonaly also has been world runner-up three times.

Saturday morning Bonaly gave a test to French officials at a skating rink in Colombes and was judged to be in condition suitable for the Europe

``She has now had a sufficient amount of time to recuperate from her injury,″ said Didier Gailhaguet, the French team leader.

Gailhaguet, the French team doctor Gilbert Danowski, the national team director Patrice Maurin and the national figure skating committee were present at the test.

``We now feel assured she is ready to make a comeback. We did what we thought was right. We believe we have made a good decision,″ Gailhaguet said.

France previously named Vanessa Gusmeroli and Laetitia Hubert for the women’s competition. France is allowed three women representatives and Bonaly’s naming will not need to replace anyone.

The championships begin Sunday with the men’s qualifications. Women qualifications are Monday.

This year, in contrast to previous years, all skaters must compete in qualifications. Thirty skaters will advance to the short program of each singles event.

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