The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2012 opened in Minsk, Belarus, on Monday with the Preliminary Rounds for Men, Ice Dance and Pairs. 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 is represented for the first time.

Nam Nguyen (CAN) wins Men's Preliminary Round
Nam Nguyen of Canada won the Men's Preliminary Round followed by Korea's June Hyoung Lee and Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines.

13-year-old Nguyen, the youngest male competitor at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2012, was the only skater to land a triple Axel. Performing to Piano Concertos No. 1 and 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Canadian followed up with four clean triples, but popped a Lutz to score a new seasons best of 116.33 points. It felt really good out there. I had a lot of fun and it was my first time to do a clean triple Axel. It looked easy, but it was pretty hard, Nguyen said. I try to think about competing with the other skaters, not about the age. I just want to do my best out there. Although it wasn't my best, I still felt it was really good, he added.

Lee hit a triple flip-triple toe and three more good triple jumps in his routine to The Barber of Seville by Rossini. He only missed a triple Salchow. Lee earned 110.48 points. I felt tired today, because I had arrived yesterday at 3 in the morning. But the performance was good for the Preliminary Round and I will show my best on the last day, the Korean commented.

Martinez' program to Tango de los Exilados featured six triple jumps and two level-four spins. The Filippino picked up a seasons best of 109.42 points. I feel great, I never skated a perfect program before and it is the first time for me to score over 100 points in the Free Skating, the 15-year-old shared. This is a big arena and many people were watching, but it was the first time for me not being nervous, he explained.

14 out of 24 Men qualified to compete in the Short Program as there were 16 direct entries. Kristof Forgo (HUN) withdrew prior to the competition due to acute respiratory infection.

Shari Koch/Christian Nüchtern (GER) take Ice Dance Preliminary Round
Shari Koch/Christian Nüchtern of Germany captured the Ice Dance Preliminary Round ahead of Karolina Prochazkova/Michal Ceska of the Czech Republic and Uzbekistan's Anna Nagornyuk/Viktor Kovalenko.

Koch/Nüchtern put out a solid performance to Big Spender and Fever, completing five level-four elements. They earned 72.36 points. It was tiring to skate, because the ice was a little slow compared to Oberstdorf where we trained the past week. We are happy with our elements but we can improve skating-wise, Koch said. I was very pleased to see that so many spectators had come to watch, Nüchtern added.

Dancing to Chicago, Prochazkova/Ceska picked up a level four for the three lifts and the spin, but he wobbled on the twizzles. The Czechs scored 70.58 points. It was good, but also a little hard for us to skate in the Preliminary Round. We've never done this, Ceska said. Except for my error on the twizzle I think it was a decent performance.

Nagornyuk/Kovalenko's dance to the Peter Gunn soundtrack by Henry Mancini included level-four lifts and a level-four spin while the twizzles were a level three. The couple achieved a new seasons best score with 70.40 points. We were very calm and in a fighting mood. The first phase of the competition went quite well and now we are ready to continue the main competition. Our goal is it to make the top ten, Kovalenko commented. Competing at the Four Continents Championships recently was a great experience for us and now it feels psychologically easier for us to skate in juniors, he noted.

11 out of 18 couples qualified to compete in the Short Dance as there were 14 direct entries.

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) finish first in Pairs Preliminary Round
China's Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin won the Pairs Preliminary Round. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) came second and Meiyi Li/Bo Jiang of China placed third.

Yu/Jin produced a triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow in their program set to Requiem for a Dream, but she missed a double Axel and the triple toe. The Chinese earned 96.37 points. It wasn't our best today, but the preliminary round is a good practice for us before the main competition, Jin said. As for our goals, we just want to show our best in competition and we are not looking at placements."

Denney/Frazier's routine to Pearl Harbour was highlighted by a triple twist, double Axel and throw triple loop and Salchow. However, Denney fell on the entry of the side by side spin. The U.S. Junior Champions posted a new seasons best with 91.58 points. We felt really relaxed and confident. It felt like a normal day in practice, Denney told the press. (Competing in the preliminary round) definitely is a big help. It's just getting out there, almost like an exhibition, practice run. Now we know how it's like and how it feels. I think we're ready to set the bar even higher. I thought it was overall powerful, Frazier added.

Skating to Boundless, Li/Jiang landed a a triple twist, two triple throws and performed two level-four lifts. He fell on he side by side triple Salchow, and the triple toe-double toe combination was wobbly. The couple earned 88.48 points. It was quite good, but we had a couple of mistakes. We also were a little slow and far apart from each other. This is our first time at such a big event and we were nervous, but we hope to do better next time, Jiang commented.

11 out of 15 Pairs qualified to compete in the Short Program as there were 9 direct entries.

The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships continue Tuesday with the Ladies Preliminary Round. For more information, full entry lists and results please see: