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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 18:13 GMT
Skating bosses back Chinese pair
Chinese skater Zhang Dan
Zhang Dan bravely resumed after this heavy fall
Skating chiefs have backed the decision to allow Chinese couple Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao to continue their Olympic pairs routine after a spectacular fall.

Zhang Dan crashed in Monday's event but resumed after consulting with officials before then claiming the silver medal.

But International Skating Union secretary Fredi Schmid denied the decision was made out of sympathy. "The rules were respected," he said.

"What they performed on the ice justified the marks they received."

Zhang Dan was taken for a check-up at a local hospital on Tuesday and found to have strained a ligament in her left knee, according to Ji Chunnan, a doctor in the Chinese camp.

The fall appeared to end the couple's medal prospects as a dazed Zhang Dan tried to get up after her attempted rare quadruple Salchow.

She fell back on to the ice with an injured knee.

She eventually had to be helped to her feet by her partner, but did not give up.

Almost five minutes after the fall, the duo picked up their routine from the point where Zhang Dan had stumbled, before completing their display.

"They started again within two minutes from the moment the referee indicated they must skate," Schmid insisted.

"The referee must weigh up what has happened. It looked like a potential injury and the referee made his call.

"In circumstances when somebody is in very obvious pain, I don't think the interruption offers any advantage when they struggle to finish the performance.

"This skater had the courage to finish and she was obviously in pain."

Russian pair Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin won the gold medal with China's Shen Xue and Hongbo Zhao claiming the bronze.


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