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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 championships, the French federation said today.

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

Bonaly ruptured an Achilles tendon in her right foot during an exhibition last May and has been slow to recover. 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 1991-95 but was second last year to Russian Irina Slutskaya. Bonaly also has been world runner-up three times.

This morning Bonaly gave a test to French officials at a skating rink in Colombes and was judged to be in condtition suitable for the championships.

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

Gailhaguet, French team doctor Gilbert Danowski, 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 chose Vanessa Gusmeroli and Laetitia Hubert for the women’s competition. France is allowed three women representatives, so Bonaly will not replace anyone.

The championships begin Sunday with the men’s qualifying. Women’s qualifying is Monday.

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

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