The 2012 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships will open in Minsk, Belarus, on February 27. Belarus hosts an ISU Figure Skating Championship for the very first time. 207 skaters from 52 ISU members have been entered for the Championships. The new ISU member of Grenada will be represented for the first time. The entry quota system with Direct entries and Preliminary Round entries that was introduced in 2011 will be used. Skaters from countries with competitors that placed in the top 18 for Singles, top 12 in Pairs and top 15 in Ice Dance in the 2010 Championships are entered directly in the Short Program or Short Dance, i.e. the first segment of the competition. Member countries that are unable to fill their quota through Direct entries may enter the remainder of their competitors in the Preliminary Round. The Preliminary Round takes place before the official competition starts. The top 15 Men (as there are only 15 direct entries), top 12 Ladies, the top 11 Pairs (as there are 9 direct entries) and top 11 Ice Dance couples (as there are 14 direct entries) qualify to compete in the Short Program/Short Dance with the skaters entered through the Direct entries. In total 30 Men and Ladies, 20 Pairs and 25 Ice Dance couples compete in the first segment. Competitors placed in the top 24 in Single Skating/the top 16 Pair Skating couples and the top 20 Ice Dance couples in the Short Program/Short Dance qualify for Free Skating/Free Dance.

Overview of the top contenders
The medalists of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final will meet again. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Jason Brown (USA) comes with a seasons best of 208.41 points to Minsk. He has to expect strong competition from ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Han Yan (CHN/seasons best 219.37 points) and bronze medalist Joshua Farris (USA/seasons best 207.67 points). But other contenders are in the mix such as Denis Ten (KAZ) who placed sixth at the recent ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, defending World Junior silver medalist Keiji Tanaka (JPN), Artur Dmitriev (RUS) and Zhan Bush (RUS).

Reigning World Junior Champion Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) is back to defend her title, but her challengers are ready. Sotnikova scored a seasons best of 169.75 points competing in the senior Grand Prix earlier this season. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) has a seasons best of 183.05 und goes confidently into her debut at Junior Worlds. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Polina Shelepen (RUS/seasons best 162.34 points) is aiming at her first Championships podium as well. However, other contenders want to spoil the Russian party: Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist Zijun Li (CHN), U.S. Junior Champion Gracie Gold, Satoko Miyahara (JPN), Risa Shoji (JPN) and Christina Gao (USA).

Two-time and reigning World Junior Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) are the top seeds in the Pairs event. The couple comes fresh off their victory at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships where they posted a seasons best of 201.83 points. Below them, the field seems quite open. ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Katherine Bobak/Ian Beharry (Canada/seasons best 152.65 points) and bronze medalists Britney Simpson/Matthew Blackmer (USA/seasons best 146.35 points) are hoping for another podium finish in Minsk. Ekaterina Petaikina/Maxim Kurdyukov (RUS) and Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) competed in the Junior Final as well. Russia also sends two new teams that debut at the international scene but did well nationally: Junior Champions Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat and Kamila Gainetdinova/Ivan Bich.

Russian dance teams Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin (seasons best 151.10 points), Anna Yankovskaia/Sergei Mozgov (seasons best 146.96 points) and Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (seasons best 149.98 points) swept the podium at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in December and want to battle it out again in their debut at Junior Worlds. Competition should come from ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton (USA), Maria Nosulia/Evgeni Kholoniuk (UKR) and also from Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams (CAN).

Please note that for the seasonal best total scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior) have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships.

Prize money
The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 200,000 at the World Junior Championships to skaters/couples placed 1st to 12th. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:

Men and Ladies Pairs and Dance (per couple)

1st place US$ 10,000 1st place US$ 15,000

2nd place US$ 7,000 2nd place US$ 10,500

3rd place US$ 5,000 3rd place US$ 7,500

4th place US$ 3,500 4th place US$ 4,500

5th place US$ 2,750 5th place US$ 4,000

6th place US$ 2,500 6th place US$ 3,750

7th place US$ 2,250 7th place US$ 3,500

8th place US$ 2,000 8th place US$ 3,000

9th place US$ 1,750 9th place US$ 2,750

10th place US$ 1,500 10th place US$ 2,250

11th place US$ 1,250 11th place US$ 1,750

12th place US$ 1,000 12th place US$ 1,500


The schedule of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2012 is as follows:
Monday, February 27: Preliminary Rounds Ice Dance, Men, Pairs
Tuesday, February 28: Preliminary Round Ladies
Wednesday, February 29: Pairs Short Program, Short Dance
Thursday, March 1: Men Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Friday, March 2: Ladies Short Program, Free Dance
Saturday, March 3: Men Free Skating, Ladies Free Skating
Sunday, March 4: Exhibition Gala

For more information, full entry lists and results please see: