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Sandhu withdraws from Canadian nationals

Three-time national champ's career could be over

Emanuel Sandhu last appeared in competition internationally at the 2007 World Championships, where he finished a disappointing 16th.
Emanuel Sandhu last appeared in competition internationally at the 2007 World Championships, where he finished a disappointing 16th. (Getty Images)

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By Todd Hinckley
(01/06/2008) - Emanuel Sandhu has been one of the leaders of Canadian figure skating for over a decade, but his reign could be over.

Skate Canada announced on Friday that the three-time national champion (2001, 2003, 2004) had withdrawn from the 2008 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

"Emanuel has taken this year away from competitive skating to assess his goals moving forward," Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada's high performance director, said in a news release. "He has not ruled out resuming competitive training for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, and we support his decision."

In the summer, Sandhu decided that he would skip the beginning of the 2007-08 season in order to pursue his singing and acting career. But he left open the possibility of returning to action for nationals, because he received a bye to that event, thanks to his bronze-medal finish last year.

Skate Canada's placements into international events next season depend on the final standings at the 2008 Canadian championships, so any immediate return to skating is very much in doubt for Sandhu with his withdrawal this week.

Sandhu has competed at Canadian nationals 13 times. He has six runner-up finishes to go with his three national crowns. His best finish on the international scene was fifth at the world championships in Calgary in 2006.

He also shook up the world scene in December 2003, when he won the ISU Grand Prix Final in Colorado Springs, Colo. He topped 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko to take that gold medal.

The mantle in Canadian figure skating had already been passed to three-time defending national champ Jeffrey Buttle, and now 17-year-old Patrick Chan, who won a gold medal at the Trophee Eric Bompard in November, will challenge for the national title this year.

As Slipchuk said, the door to Sandhu's career has not been slammed shut completely with the Olympics on home soil in Vancouver in 2010. Maybe we will see Sandhu again by then.