World junior champs open doors in Sofia
The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014 will open in Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 12. 179 skaters from 45 ISU members have been entered for the Championships.
Following a decision of the ISU congress in summer 2012, no preliminary rounds are skated, but participants need to have achieved a total element minimum score for both Short and Free Program. All skaters compete in the Short Program/Short Dance and the top 24 single skaters, top 16 Pairs and top 20 Ice Dance teams proceed to the Free Skating/Free Dance.
Competition will be tight with the participants of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Reigning Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Boyang Jin (CHN) landed three quadruple jumps in the Junior Final and has a season’s best of 218.73 points. He finished fourth in 2013 and is aiming at the top of the podium.
The challenge should come from ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Adian Pitkeev (RUS/seasons best 216.24 points), ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Nathan Chen (USA/seasons best 218.62 points) as well as Nam Nguyen (CAN/seasons best 204.69 points). Others to watch out for are 2011 World Junior silver medalist Keiji Tanaka (JPN), Michael Christian Martinez (PHI) and 2013 World Junior bronze medalist Shotaro Omori (USA).
The Russian Ladies swept the podium in 2013 (as did the US Men), and the Russian team is strong again. Defending champion Elena Radionova is back (seasons best 191.81 points) and is joined by ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Maria Sotskova (seasons best 176.75 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Serafima Sakhanovich (seasons best 172.86 points).
Looking to challenge the Russians are 2014 Four Continents silver medalist Satoko Miyahara (JPN/seasons best 186.53 points) and Karen Chen (USA/seasons best 179.08 points). Other contenders include Rika Hongo (JPN), Lutricia Bock (GER) and Ziquan Zhao (CHN).
The Pairs event features ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN/seasons best 173.58 points), ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev (RUS/seasons best 168.10 points) as well as 2012 World Junior bronze medalists Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (RUS/seasons best 161.03 points). Russian Junior Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov and Madeline Aaron/Max Settlage (USA) are expected to challenge for the podium as well.
In the Ice Dance event, reigning ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions Anna Yanovskaya/ Sergey Mozgov (RUS/seasons best 152.48 points) are up against ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean Luc Baker (USA/seasons best 144.84 points) and ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA/seasons best 137.97 points).
Other contenders include Madeline Edwards/Zhao Kai Pang (CAN), Mackenzie Bent/Garrett Mackeen (CAN), Betina Popova/ Yuri Vlasenko (RUS), Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin and Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA).
Defending champions Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) have withdrawn due to illness and were replaced by Evgenia Kosigina/Nikolai Moroshkin.
Information from ISU press release was used in this report